Legal start-up wants justice to be more accessible

by Sol Dolor14 Sep 2016
Wellington-based legal services start-up LawHawk wants more people and organisations in New Zealand to have better access to justice by using automation.
Launched in June this year, founder Gene Turner said LawHawk can help small businesses who often cannot spend much on legal services even though they need to.
“[There are] a huge number of things you could stuff up pretty quickly if you didn't have good legal frameworks underpinning your business,” Turner said in an interview with Stuff.
Turner, a former corporate lawyer who used to charge $650 an hour at his previous law firm, says that people often just search for information online because they don’t have that kind of money to pay a lawyer.
Using LawHawk, users can save hundreds, he said as customisable online legal document templates the site offers cost less than $50 each. According to the publication, the New Zealand Law Society had quoted Auckland barrister Frances Joychild QC saying about half of the New Zealand population could not afford legal services.
By providing legal services at a fraction of what traditional costs are, lawyers are also seeing benefits from LawHawk.
Apart from getting business, lawyers who are called on to help clients also avoid the tedious work and have better informed clients, the report noted. Lawyers dodge mundane tasks and clients who come to them have a better understanding of what they need after being exposed to legal documents through the service.
LawHawk joins the ranks of other start-ups providing automated legal documents services to clients.
Recently, US-based Rocket Lawyer launched in France via a joint venture – backed by Google Ventures, Morgan Stanley Ventures and Swiss bank Salfort Privatbank – with European legal publishing company Editions Lefebvre Sarrut.
That was the service’s first launch in mainland Europe and it plans to rollout to Spain and the Netherlands next.
LawHawk has launched with an initial collection of 21 customisable documents which offer more than 3,700 variable sections to fit client needs.