The co-founder of PayPal has invested in a start-up that aims to help clients find lawyers and then collaborate with them through an online platform – and is targeting the UK in the next few months – Legal Futures can reveal.
In addition to Peter Thiel – who was also the first outside investor in Facebook – LawPal has investment from Vikrant Bhargava, former marketing director of online casino PartyGaming, and another unnamed UK investor.
LawPal was co-founded by British technologist Alex Halliday and US lawyer Yael Citro. Though it began life in the UK, the company is currently based in California and targeted solely at start-up businesses during its early phase.
Mr Halliday told Legal Futures that the plan is for a rapid expansion of its geographical spread and the areas of law covered, reaching the UK within six months.
He explained: “LawPal is focusing on creating a new category of legal service. We want to offer clients a qualified local lawyer with relevant experience at a predictable price, and give both parties tools to make the relationship more transparent and efficient.
“We have chosen start-ups in California because we believe that this is the right environment to test and roll-out a service like this.”
He said that by enabling the whole lifecycle of legal documents through the platform, LawPal would introduce efficiencies into the lawyer/client relationship.
After entering their details, users are given a choice of lawyer; having selected one, LawPal then sets up an online dealroom for them along with a transaction checklist. Mr Halliday said this system was more efficient and seamless than using e-mail.
There will be “complete visibility” on fees, he added, and at the moment the site is free to use while the service is tested.
Mr Thiel has invested through FF Angel, an angel venture capital fund which is part of the Founders Fund, a San Francisco-based venture capital fund with over $1bn under management. Two other co-founders of PayPal are partners, along with a co-founder of Napster.
Mr Halliday said Mr Thiel was happy for them to use the name LawPal.