Surrey lawyer introduces new era of legal support
A Surrey lawyer has launched a new online legal support site which is thought to be the first of its kind; challenging the structure of traditional law firms which, he says, need to develop in order to meet the changing needs of consumers.
Woking-based Shahid Shah, who qualified in 2010, says he is not surprised by recent reports in national newspapers, claiming that UK law firms have suffered their worst quarter since 2010, leading to mergers and a move towards standardised fixed costs.
His two year training contract with a firm came to an abrupt halt when it was forced to close, six months before the contract ended. Nevertheless, he went on to train and practice in other commercial, criminal and family law firms, gradually becoming disillusioned by what he says was the “typically restricted law firm approach to doing business”.
“I saw first-hand how some firms would have benefitted from taking a more customer-centric approach”, he says. “Real engagement with clients and transparent communication would have engendered trust and encouraged customer loyalty. This is an approach which I was determined to incorporate into my new website service”.
Instead of continuing his career as a private practice lawyer for other law firms, Shahid decided to launch a unique business model, not only harmonising technology and legal services but bridging a gap between DIY legal documents and offering a fully fledged legal service.
Cube Legal, whose tag line is “Legal stuff without the stuffiness”, aims to offer a flexible, consumer-focused legal services solution. Users of the site are offered a range of legal services and qualified advice, packaged together for a fixed cost. The theme of the site is transparency, with customers able to see the progress of their entire case and all correspondence, safely stored in their own online area.
Addressing current consumer needs including offering entrepreneur-
Entrepreneur James Singerhauser used the site to launch his own business. He says: “The fact that I could access my whole case online whenever I needed to and didn’t have to wait for the post to arrive before moving forward was a real plus point for me. I didn’t even need to wait for an appointment or worry about mounting costs. I received a swift response and the whole service was packaged in such a way to get me up and running in as short a time as possible, for a very reasonable fixed fee”.
“The concept of a traditional law firm has been turned on its head, thanks to the introduction of Alternative Business Structure (ABSs) which means that consumers now have a much wider choice of competitive service providers and fees”, says Shahid. “The ABSs have helped to open the door for a more streamlined approach to legal services, and law firms need to adapt to a new market”.
“With Cube Legal, I’ve simply gone one further, combining qualified online legal expertise with consumer friendly packages, giving customers a fixed price and 24/7 access to their case information. Professional services are now being forced to rethink the way in which they do business and in order to remain competitive, I forecast that we’ll see more innovative business models with a customer-centric focus, taking centre stage over the next five years”.