The legal business knows many inefficient processes because digitalization is kept at bay, noticed Wendy Bogers during her career as a lawyer. Change was due and thus, eighteen months ago, Wendy founded Ligo. So, what exactly is this superfast and economic juridical service provider?
Wendy: ‘’Automatization ensures a more efficient way of providing services, because the client is able to make the contract by their selves within minutes. Furthermore, as an entrepreneur, you need to be able to ask simple questions, without paying a high hourly fee.’’
How would you describe Ligo in one tweet?
‘’The new way for entrepreneurs to take care of legal business quickly and easily for a fixed, affordable monthly free.’’
How was Ligo created?
In the advocacy business automatization is kept at bay as much as possible. Working on an hourly basis is very common and if you use technology to accelerate this process you go against the traditional earnings model. In my own legal office, I was dealing with user unfriendly software systems and legal cases which consumed a lot of time. This is one of the reasons I want to embrace digitalization in the advocacy business.
What about the other reasons?
Furthermore, I learned from my clients. At the time, most of these were young entrepreneurs. Besides contracts, they had a strong need to exchange ideas with lawyers about legal issues without having to be afraid for high hourly costs. My idea while creating Ligo was that the process of constructing a contract should be fully automated. Moreover, the clients should be able to talk to a lawyer at any time, without high hourly costs.
What does Ligo do, exactly?
‘Ligo is an online platform where entrepeneurs can handle their legal business very easily and quickly for a fixed monthly fee. We offer self-service: you create tailor-made contracts yourself and you have access to a market place for a fast, approachable connection to lawyers. Membership prices start at only thirty euros per month.
What does a Ligo membership offer?
‘Entrepreneurs can make tailor-made contracts within minutes. We have access to over one hundred Dutch and English documents. You also benefit from unlimited telephonic consultation with external, independent lawyers. Furthermore, we want to give entrepreneurs insight in all the legal steps that need to be taken for important events.
How did you realize this?
‘We developed legal workflows. This flow acts as a checklist so you do not forget things like hiring personnel or picking up an investment. As a Ligo member you are actively shown what you need on the legal side. If, and when you need more specialized services, you are connected to a lawyer. Ligo facilitates all legal business from the start of the business to the further development.
Which problem does Ligo solve?
Legal business can cost a lot of time and money. Finding the right lawyer can be difficult and the final invoice amount is not transparent. Because of this, many entrepreneurs are wary to acquire legal services. However, because of this they take unnecessary risks. It is very normal to encounter legal issues and ask yourself which steps you should take to follow the rules. With our platform, we counter traditionally high costs, so legal services and products are accessible for every entrepreneur.
Are all the services on a request basis?
‘Right now, clients can ask a question any time. This is included in the membership. Ligo also highlights the preventive side. If you have your legal documents well sorted, the chance you are involved in a conflict situation will be much lower. The legal workflows notify the client on time when action is needed.
Does the membership also cover other legal services?
‘’When dealing with a conflict situation for example, mere advice is often not sufficient and you might need a representative in court. In this situation, we gladly assist you, however it is not part of the membership. You can request an offer from one of our specialized lawyers situated throughout the Netherlands. You will always receive the offer within a day and they are fixed prices, so no need to be afraid for unexpected costs. Additions such as these make our service exceptionally broad and accessible.’’
Which contracts does Ligo offer, and which does it not?
‘’We offer all the kinds of contracts entrepreneurs can need. Subjects of our contracts include: employments, business, cooperation, intellectual property, rent, and finances.’’
What is your vision?
‘’I want that every entrepreneur, also the entrepreneur which is just starting out, has direct access to high quality legal services.
How does the connection with the lawyers work?
‘’We work with a large network of external, independent lawyers throughout the Netherlands, each specialized in a different field. We find it very important to offer this level of expertise. For clients, it is often hard to find a lawyer. Nobody feels like calling ten law firms before finally finding the one specialized for your issue. Besides, lawyers are specialized in the law, not in marketing. We take over marketing activities from them by making the match between lawyer and client.
Who is your target group?
‘’We are focused on entrepreneurs in SME, with around sixty workers. There are also many startups and freelancers in it. We also work with a lot of new clients of ABN AMRO Bank. It is of great value for entrepreneurs to receive prompt service for low costs, especially if they are just beginners. Keeping your legal maintenance is very important and we help you with that.’’
Suppose that I want to use Ligo, how does that work?
‘’You go to our website and sign up for free. With your account, you can download the first contract and start following the workflow. When you have a question, just start a chat conversation with one of the lawyers. For example, if you doubt which legal form is better for you then we can help you with the startup. What we see at Ligo is that freelancers are mainly hired for single service and that a membership is more suitable for SME entrepreneurs.’’
What are the experiences of Ligo users?
‘’ We get so many positive reactions from our users. The legal workflows are a big hit, because entrepreneurs do not have to think about what they need, we do that for them. Besides saving money, the convenience jumps out.’’
Suppose I am a startup, how much cheaper am I with Ligo?
‘’To set up an agreement by a lawyer can cost roughly €500,- to €750,-. That is just the price for a simple document without the bells and whistles. As a member of Ligo, you can download the same contract for free. The annual membership costs €39,95 per month. Another popular example is starting with a private company: normally you have to pay around €750,- at the solicitor. At Ligo you can get it for € 255,-.”
Which benefits does Ligo offer specifically to marketers?
‘’Marketers can have questions with legal issues concerning intellectual property and collaborations. Before they can start working for clients or start collaborating with other parties, they can get free advice from our lawyers. Popular documents for marketers include: freelance contracts, confidentiality agreements and the ‘deed of transferring intellectual property’.’’
What kind of software do you use?
‘’Ligo uses a program which automatizes all the legal cases in the subscriptions as much as possible. We have developed this platform ourselves and we have our own development team which is working hard to improve our services. We also use many tools from external companies, for example chat software, to connect with the clients. We have knowingly chosen to build our own software, because I personally know the restrictions of existing software. We want to act free.’’
Who do you see as your competitors?
‘’There are a couple of legal platforms in the Netherlands, which in their own way bring disruption in the market. They offer of services and the way these services are provides, differ on each platform. We have a network of external lawyers throughout the Netherlands. Their independence and many specializations are distinctive for Ligo. I think it is a big benefit for the client, because we do not profit from referrals, except for the fact that the client is happy.’’
In what way does Ligo differ from ‘regular’ law firms?
‘’We do not make hours but products. By automating your tasks, you know exactly how long it takes, what the costs are and what your profit is. The difference between most law firms and Ligo is also in the speed and the accessibility in combination with the level of specialization and billing. In advocacy, it is common to bill out per hour. This can lead to unexpectedly high costs.’’
What are your ambitions for the future?
‘’To make it easier for thousands of entrepreneurs in the Netherlands to arrange their legal affairs. To handle legal procedures should not be an obstacle for entrepreneurs. At this moment, we work with lawyers from the Netherlands, but also with lawyers from Belgium and Germany. The ambition is to expand to other parts of Europe. We are currently working hard on this by dilating our network of lawyers internationally.’’
Read here the original article in Dutch.