It seems that with digitisation becoming a thing, even law startups are quickly becoming a trend in 2017. Unfortunately though, the movement is low-key curbed for now, while our own regulatory bodies figure out how this modernisation will look like in Malaysia.
These regulation difficulties usually lie in the grey area behind a startup’s most important question—how are they going to monetise the platform?
In the meantime though, law startups have still made their move here, either born and bred in our own little nation, or entering from the outside. After all, trying to modernise a crucial yet archaic industry is a no-brainer.
There’s more to the services that meets the eye. It’s not all about consultations and it’s not all about making sure that these things are kept to themselves. So to make it easier, we’ve gathered the current law startups for a quick overview on what they have to offer to Malaysians.
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Service 1: Lawyer discovery
Since lawyers are traditionally not as accessible to those who aren’t in the law scene, and the lawyers that they do find might not be the right people for the job, LawCanvas will ask that you fill in a form with your legal needs, and they’ll reply with a lawyer that suits your legal needs. Requests can be filled in for:
- Finding a lawyer in general
- Registering a company
- Making a will
- Accounting & tax
Service 2: Legal document template generator
Between forming partnership agreements to document generation for businesses, LawCanvas has a pretty substantial list of Malaysia-accepted documents that might be useful to us, most notably documents for personal reasons, though there are also business-related documents such as HR-related documents, or running/starting a business, etc.
It’s worth noting that you should still get a lawyer to oversee your documents before it becomes legally binding, but it can serve as a good starting point.
Service 1: Lawyer discovery (CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE)
Until CanLaw can work out a way to legally monetise off the lawyer discovery platform, that vertical is currently unavailable while they focus on their new ventures, but since there’s a possibility that it might come back in the future, it’s still listed here.
Service 1: Syariah lawyer discover platform (Active starting the 10th of November)
Free to use for consumers, among the services offered by lawyers listed on CanLaw Syariah include divorces, child custody, pre-nuptials, polygamy, divorces, and syariah crimes, among others. The platform gets lawyers to estimate prices for consumers, as well. After a short questionnaire, users will be given a few quotations within 2 days, and can then select their lawyer and appointment date.
Service 1: Lawyer directory
Slightly different from a lawyer discovery platform, BurgieLaw lists out lawyers operating in the area that correspond to your legal needs. You’ll have to make any inquiries and deals with the lawyers yourself, though.
Service 2: Instant messaging with a lawyer
Once you’ve discovered a lawyer for your needs, you can message them for quotations and other inquiries, provided that you’re signed on to BurgieLaw’s packages.
Service 3: Over-the-phone consultations
If instant messaging does not provide you with the nuance you need for your case, BurgieLaw also offers over-the-phone consultations under their paid-for packages. Consultation packages can only be bought bundled in either the ‘Lite’ or ‘Basic’ packages.
Service 3: Legal templates
For buyers of the ‘Basic’ package, BurgieLaw’s users can access any of their legal templates online. For now, the options available are (though more are coming soon):
- Founders Agreement
- Shareholders Agreement
- Non-disclosure Agreement
- Memorandum of Understanding
- Employment letter
A platform specifically designed with startups and SMEs in mind, ELS was created by a legal firm named Munhoe & Mar that started out in Johor, now expanded to KL.
With a claim to fame that they “understand the needs of entrepreneurs”, this platform is designed to connect these disruptive businesses with the kind of lawyers that can advise them legally.
There are even quick-click options for typical startup or SME needs, such as funding, partnership agreements, joint venture agreements, among other more business-related boxes, like licensing and non-disclosure agreements.
This app connects lawyers in a community that can call in favours to conduct mentions on behalf (MOB) all on a single, automated platform. It’s two way street.
Lawyers can instruct other lawyers to attend court cases, manage appointments or mentions for each other, all over Malaysia, at all levels, from Magistrate, to Federal and even Industrial courts, for a fee.
You’ll even be able to find lawyers for last minute court dates.
Meanwhile this is an opportunity for lawyers to make some extra cash by taking up requests, averaging from RM100 to RM150. Since the usual cost for a lawyer (and by extension, the customer) is RM1,000 to do this without the app, Locum Legalis is a cost-saving measure.
2. FCL & Co
Operated and run by Foong Cheng Leong from Messrs Foong Cheng Leong & Co., theirs is a free app that lets you search through their database of at least 12,000 Malaysia Court judgements.
While the Malaysian court publishes a majority of these judgements on their website, it was found that all of the cases are divided between the states (with Sabah and Sarawak sharing one).
To make the tedious researching job for Malaysian lawyers easier, these cases are collected into one platform, with fellow lawyers and a retired judge contributing their caseloads as well, with the option to search within the contents of the files.
These listings can be useful for fellow lawyers, in-house counsels, academics and law students.
The whole operation is fully bankrolled and produced by Foong Cheng Leong for the benefit of the community.
This startup is all about math. Rather, it wants to help legal practitioners (as well as anyone who needs lawyers and commissioner for oaths: real estate agents, bankers, property investors, etc) to calculate “anything property related”.
This includes almost instant calculations for legal fees and stamp duties, as well as real property gain taxes. You can also get an estimate for costs, or calculate the gain taxes payable.
Another digital library in the vein of FCL & Co, eLaw is a digital library that holds more than 60,000 judgements from Malaysian courts, dating back to 1900s.
On top of providing a user-friendly search engine, eLaw allows Malaysian lawyers to extract judgements based on citations in local legal publications, or look at the relationships between referred cases—are they considered, followed, overruled, distinguished or referred, etc.
On top of that, the site also lists updated legislations of Malaysia including amending acts, PU(A)s, and PU(B)s.
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Feature Image Credit: Phoenix Wright