Solicitor entrepreneur launches crowdfunding push for legal app

Lauren Riley

Riley: Clients demanding to communicate via apps

Lauren Riley, the solicitor entrepreneur who appeared on ‘The Apprentice’, is launching a bid next week to raise £150,000 for her legal app through crowdfunding.

Ms Riley, who survived until week seven of the BBC1 show at the end of last year, said: “It’s really exciting for us to take this forward and open it up for legal investors.”

The Link App is designed to enable law firms to update clients on cases quickly, using a pre-populated list of standard case updates, or tailoring messages to suit individual needs.

Ms Riley said about 80 small and medium-sized law firms had registered an interest in the product, and, although the app could be applied across the spectrum of services for private clients, she believed it would have the biggest impact in conveyancing cases.

The app is designed to enable law firms to update clients on cases quickly, using a pre-populated list of standard case updates, or tailoring messages to suit individual needs.

Clients are given a log-in which allows them to check the progress of their case, or, if they want to talk to their lawyer, they can request a call-back.

Ms Riley, who works as a freelance family lawyer at Labrums in St Albans, said: “This is about helping shape the future of law. Clients are demanding to communicate via apps, and solicitors are being encouraged to make more use of technology in their firms.”

She said the investment of up to £150,000 was needed to roll out the app on a national basis. She said a lot of investors approached her after The Apprentice was over, with a view to taking a “large stake” in the business.

“A lot of these doors will still be open when the Link App needs significant funding. But these people are not interested in £150,000.”

Ms Riley said the national roll-out was planned for the late summer or early autumn. After a 30-day free trial, customers would be able to buy the app.

She said that she was particularly keen to attract investors who were lawyers or law firms, and they would be offered incentives such as the chance to take an equity stake in the business or a £1,000 credit once they had invested a certain amount.

“Crowdfunding is the ‘go to’ place to raise investment for start-up businesses,” she added. “I’m really excited to offer this opportunity to the legal profession.”

Ms Riley will be speaking at next month’s Legal Futures conference, From Click 2 Client, in association with NatWest and MMA Digital.

Potential investors should visit The link will be live from Monday 8 June.


    Readers Comments

  • Max Meterage says:

    Sounds like Fridays Move gone mobile. How is it different than just sending an email or text?

  • Jonathan Bassey says:

    Most case management systems already allow emails and text messages which is all The Link App seems to be offering??
    I may be a little biased here but any application that law firms use to communicate with their clients needs to be fully integrated into their CMS for a number of reasons. Clients don’t just want updates via an app, they want documents sent to their smart phone, digital signature feature and the ability to track their case when it is convenient with them.

  • Martyn Paddon says:

    Completely agree with previous responses; why would you not simply send an email or text. Also with the wide variety of case management systems and often these are bespoke then integration would be difficult and potentially costly.
    There appears to be the view that everything should have an App; in many cases I would agree but given consumers would in all probability only interact with a lawyer very rarely, are they really going to download an App simply to be told what is happening on their case? Many firms offer client tracking via their website and the ability to upload/download forms so why add this layer onto their systems.
    Cannot really see the benefit with the expense it will entail.

  • eleanor adams says:

    innovation to improve customer communication within the legal profession is an important factor that all firms should be considering to ensure they are not left behind. Lauren’s aspire to improve this, whilst not entirely original, is plausible and should be supported. However, just calling something an ‘App’ doesn’t make it innovative. I agree with Martyn’s comment above, everyone is trying to launch ‘apps’ at the moment as if this is the magical answer. An ‘app’ is just a short-cut to launch a larger software application from your mobile or tablet and it is that software that should provide the innovation as a link between both consumer interaction and fee earner work process. Competition is healthy as it strives to improve the services the other offers, so whilst I would welcome other parties to compete with ‘In-case’ and ‘Clio’ etc. unfortunately for Lauren, hers is a long way off. Her pricing – at £25 per case – is unrealistic for those firms with medium – large volume case loads, and whilst l can possibly see that some sole practitioners may want to use her offering as a point of difference to other small high-street firms that cannot afford large technology costs, even they will find this quickly becomes redundant unless significant improvement is made to the current offering. It’s great to a young woman push forward with a technology concept and I do wish her well, but unfortunately as it stands, I am failing to agree with her valuation of her business at £1m. She may attract a better investment / development coupling if she were a little more conservative with her figures.

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