John Bowie – One of the major legal disrupters and a firm that has been described as the fastest-growing law firm in the Asia-Pacific region, is opening its doors in New Zealand from the beginning of 2021.
LegalVision has become a major presence in Australia where its legal website is one of the most popular in the country and is intent on replicating its Australian success in New Zealand as well.
The company, which began its life as a business resource for business owners rather than as a law firm, has now grown to a point where it has over 350,000 monthly visitors and it claims to have assisted over 150,000 Australian businesses via its ‘digital first’ approach to delivering legal services.
The firm’s press statement said it would deliver its “highly responsive, fixed-fee legal services” in New Zealand as it has elsewhere.
“The New Zealand market is similar to Australia in that there is a large number of SMEs and high-growth startups that are underserved by the traditional law model,” said Taylor Gray, LegalVision General Manager, New Zealand.
“We think our transformational approach to client experience, online acquisition model and subscription offering will translate really easily in New Zealand.”
LegalVision Fixed-Fee Model
LVConnect, LegalVision’s fixed-fee subscription model, has grown rapidly in the past 12 months, with businesses benefitting from price-certainty and ongoing access to unlimited legal advice.
“In Australia, we’ve seen a big rise in client interest in alternative billing models, including continued pressure to move away from hourly rates,” Gray said.
“We have also seen a marked increase in the demand for lower-cost options that offer increased ongoing value, such as subscription service delivery models. Servicing that demand will be the focus for both our Australian and New Zealand businesses in 2021.
LegalVision will also build a library of business legal information on its New Zealand website. This will help New Zealand businesses to be legally compliant without having to pay traditional firms expensive fees for answers to simple questions.
“We’ve been closely following New Zealand’s economic recovery throughout the year. We have put in place a strong team to hit the ground running to improve access to legal services for our friends across the Tasman,” said LegalVision CEO Lachlan McKnight.
Why is LegalVision Different?
LegalVision has set itself apart from a number of so-called ‘new law’ firms, which have largely been boutiques and breakaway firms that have added some technological overlay to their systems.
LegalVision’s background has been somewhat different, as has been its current offering as a law service supplier.
As Lachlan McKnight, who set up the business in 2012 after a career in investment banking and corporate law, pointed out in an interview on the business last year,
“Many traditional law firms are doing nothing, which actually is economically rational when you look at the boards/ managing partners of these firms. Most of these individuals all due to retire in 3 to 7 years. Why invest in the future when they can take a higher draw now – a disrupted market in 8 years isn’t something they’ll need to deal with.”
The reality is that most larger law firms in both Australia and New Zealand have continued to do well, pandemic issues aside, and there is little major incentive to change their model to any significant extent.
But, that said, change is undoubtedly coming and firms need to be in a position to ‘pivot’, to use the increasingly tired term, to a model that is moving away from the hourly-rate, partner-lead system we see currently.
LegalVision, which has had a strong association with Australia’s Gilbert + Tobin, has developed to principally assist in-house legal teams with services and resourcing and providing assistance to so-called ‘high frequency’ jobs.
Using their ‘LVConnect’ model, they provide fee transparency, fixed fees and tools like member discounts to provide legal services to anyone, everywhere, anytime.
For New Zealand, it’s time will be next year. And given the business’s growth to date the local market will receive a seismic shake of some strength.