Cape Town-based attorneys, Elaine Bergenthuin and Tamasen Bluett are making it easy for South Africans to access both individual and business legal services through a new online shopping platform, LegitLaw. The platforms automated technology system allows users to file their own trademark and patent online, draw up customised partnership and employment agreements, as well as draft day-to-day legal documents like antenuptial contracts and wills, making it the first in SA to offer this range and depth of customised legal services to the public.
“The legal process doesn’t have to be intimidating or daunting, it can be as easy as shopping online for a new pair of shoes,” says Bergenthuin, co-founder of LegitLaw. “We are seeing a need in South Africa for SME’s, start-ups, and individuals to have access to fast and affordable legal services without having to sign up with a law firm, which involves heaps of paperwork, unpredictable costs, slow turn-around times, and uncertain outcomes.”
According to Bergenthuin and Bluett, the legal industry has been slow to adapt to the digital realm and the evolving demands of clients. They highlight the role of COVID-19 in accelerating the move of legal services online and replacing human contact with virtual connection – which studies report businesses are finding a conduit to enhanced productivity. Recent research by Mckinsey showed more than three quarters of buyers and sellers, particularly in the B2B space, now prefer digital self-serve and remote human engagement over face-to-face interactions—a sentiment that has steadily intensified even after national lockdowns have ended.
Bergenthuin believes smart contracts and artificial intelligence is the future of law and the industry needs to adapt to stay relevant. “The legal industry is traditionally steeped in conventional practice and has tended to lag in technology adoption but is now facing mounting pressure worldwide to embrace disruptive legal tech. People have come to enjoy the speed and convenience of the online shopping environment, so it makes sense to integrate business services into a similar digital space,” she says.
The two legal powerhouses behind LegitLaw are both owners of law firms and decided to collaborate when they realised the long-term impact COVID-19 would have on how people conduct day-to-day business. Given how the pandemic is affecting people’s ability to physically meet, they saw an opportunity to create a simple ‘one-stop-shop’ solution for everyday legal needs and remove the barrier of the overwhelming element of the legal process. With over 20 years’ experience combined, Bergenthuin and Bluett’s legal online shopping platform empowers people to take the law into their own hands by offering an interactive user experience for players across a wide spectrum of industries. This also includes individual innovators, creatives, and freelancers – who often can’t afford costly legal fees.
“The LegitLaw platform is really easy and quick for anyone in any industry to use. It’s different from the template documents that are already out there in that the first step guides users on deciding exactly what they need and can afford. Most people aren’t really sure of their specific requirements and can spend hours going back and forth with lawyers. After answering a few simple questions, the LegitLaw platform generates a comprehensive tailor-made contract or agreement that is ready for download. The whole process can take only 30 minutes. It’s pretty much based on the KISS principle – keep it simple stupid,” says Bergenthuin.
For more information visit www.legitlaw.co.za