UK Legal Awards 2023

10 | UK Legal Awards 2023 Mar23150 Online Legal Services Provider of the Year 2023 Live online legal advice tailored to you and provided at a competitive price seems just a little too good to be true, but this is exactly what Quegal Ltd (Quegal) is looking to offer following its crowdfunding endeavour, which launches in just over three months’ time. With the UK legal services market now valued at more than £30 billion, a total which is set to increase by more than 8% per year, a recent IRN consumer survey was released which uncovered that ‘40% of respondents would be attracted by the convenience and low cost of online legal services.’ There’s a growing online consumer demand for legal services. Figures show that 86% of the UK adult population regularly uses the internet. Within this figure, 22 million people have an average of 3.5 legal needs over a three-year period – commonly over consumer goods or services. Quegal believes there is a compelling consumer need for more affordable, pay-as-you-go legal support and advice. Recent test marketing in the UK generated more than 125,000 website visits per day, which exceeds those of top international law firms and equals Facebook on first VC funding. The company also has a projected EBITDA of £2.2m in three years’ time, whereupon it will channel profits into a gradual European rollout. So who are Quegal? Quegal comprises a small team of passionate, tech-savvy British social entrepreneurs, looking to democratise access to legal help and advice for both people and businesses in the wake of the legal aid cuts and resulting advice deserts. Founded by Robert Quaranta, an accomplished internet pioneer and credited by Richard Susskind with creating the first legal services comparison website, Quegal has been fortunate enough to attract Molten Ventures as a project adviser. Together, the partnership can provide unrivalled expertise in online consumerism, web and app development and the practice of law, and is now in a position to bring fast, affordable pay-as-you-go legal services to the world. Changes to UK legal services legislation means that companies can now provide advice without the constraints suffered by traditional law firms, including the ability to accept third-party development funding. In a nutshell, this means that, for the first time, the legal industry is a level playing field – ripe for client-focused innovation. Quegal’s fully qualified staff will be providing on-demand advice in the eight key areas of UK law, these being employment law, property law, family law (including wills), contract law, motoring law, criminal law, personal injury law and business law, with more fields due to be added in the future. This advice will be instantly accessible via high grade end-to-end encrypted internet portals and free mobile/tablet apps, including Apple and Android platforms – with video conferencing option. The advice will be offered on a pay-as-you-go basis at £0.60ppm and, unlike any other service, with no tie-in or minimum spend, you can choose exactly how much advice you actually need. There will be instant, dual authentication, social media sign up and cardless payment, and free legal guides in each practice area, together with regular pro-bono online advice clinics. What’s more, the support and advice from Quegal will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As the future unfolds and this kind of legal advice becomes more commonplace, Quegal plans to develop and patent its own unique cutting-edge software (with no shared cloud, website flash, tracking cookies, adverts or robot helpers in sight), and expects a build time of approximately seven months. Having already undertaken significant research and development into machine learning using Big Data, the Quegal team has designed the templates for the website, as well as holding the Quegal trademark in the UK, together with the relevant company domain names. There are intentions to create a social media viral video campaign to advertise the firm’s varied range of services and, with the public’s help, Quegal aims to raise a minimum of £1.5 million in this round (with no upper ceiling) and expects to offer a 39% return on investments within 18 months. Simply put, the more that the company can crowdfund the sooner it will be able to extend its offering and services. So what makes Quegal different? The company challenges the lack of diversification by established online retailers, and the persistent unwillingness by the profession to regulate quality, reduce costs, simplify advice and offer greater accessibility. Having been referred to as the ‘Uber for law’ Quegal is, of course, so much more than that. All staff hold equity in the business and are fully invested in providing future clients with the best possible service. With an ethos and structure that supports flexible home working (and a bring your own device policy), together with the advent of paralegal accreditation, Quegal sees itself as a leader in workplace development and satisfaction. With the cost of living going through the roof, more and more companies are trying to find innovative ways to continue providing their services to consumers without the high mark-up. One such firm is startup Quegal Ltd, which is crowdfunding a full website and app service that will enable users to source instant, affordable, and easy to understand answers to everyday legal questions in multiple languages – including key areas of law and jurisdictions. We profile the firm and its pioneering approach as it is named in the UK Legal Awards 2023.