As Iris Leung (@), Editor at StartupsHK and Contributor at Forbes Asia wrote just last week: “The limelight has long been shed on Hong Kong as a startup-friendly destination. Besides efficient business setup, a robust legal system, easygoing regulatory environment and a simple tax system – one of Hong Kong’s greatest advantages is its proximity to the largest economy in the world.” Leung recently profiled Dragon Law founders Daniel Walker and Jacob Fisch on StartupsHK.
Dragon Law, along with many other Hong Kong startups, is headquartered in a Hong Kong Government facility called Cyberport (@) — a 27,000 square feet Smart-Space capable of housing 134 startups. I recently had the opportunity to interview Chris Sykes, Dragon Law’s Client Services Director – about the inspiration, substance and vision Dragon Law has for the Asia-Pacific legal markets. Here’s a transcript of that interview:
“What inspired the creation of Dragon Law?”
“Asian enterprises need an efficient and cost-effective way to create, manage and negotiate legal contracts and documents. Today they are, however, spending a lot of money – and a lot of time – fulfilling these needs, both internally and through law firms. We set up Dragon Law with the idea that we could empower businesses by offering a new and innovative way for them to draft their own documents and provide access to the legal support they need anywhere, any time and on any device they want to use. We can not and do not want to replace law firms; we will instead help our clients in finding the right firms to provide the legal advice they need, if and when they need it.”
“Within the Asia-Pacific Region – what markets are you currently serving and which do you hope to serve in the future?”
“We are launching our business in Hong Kong with Hong Kong law documents. It is important that we refine our business model in a relatively focused jurisdiction and within a manageable scope. There is no doubt that our business model can then be easily replicated. We will first launch new legal jurisdictions – for example, we are reviewing proposing BVI and Cayman law documents – and will then review other geographies where we will market our products.”
“What are your core service offerings and how is Dragon Law unique among competitors?”
“Document builder. At the core of our business is the document builder software. The Dragon Law App takes clients step-by-step through a structured set of simple questions to build a well-drafted legal document. The questions are designed to be understandable by a business person with no legal background. The documents can then be downloaded in different electronic formats or printed. They can be signed electronically. If a client wants us to check they have fully and accurately answered all the questions then we can check the document using our DoubleCheck service.
Access to legal resources. We do not provide and do not intend to provide the legal advice that our clients may need from time-to-time. We can offer two types of services in this regard. First, where clients want a legal opinion for a document they have built with our Document Builder, we can refer the document to a lawyer for an Independent Lawyer Review. Second, we also connect clients with lawyers using our free DragonLink platform if they need to draft specific documents that do not exist on our platform.
Add on services. In addition, we also provide, in-house or through partners, a number of add-on services such as Trademark Applications or Company Formation. We will automate and expand these services over time.
Given the breadth of our services, we provide similar services to those provided by many different types of firms, including law firms, company secretarial services firms or accounting firms in some cases. We do not see ourselves as a competitor to any of them and are actually collaborating with several such firms to help them in acquiring new customers and to outsource some of our work to them. Our objective is to create an ecosystem of firms with different capabilities and focus and to use technology to empower the customers at the centre of this ecosystem.”
“Where do you see Dragon Law in the Asia-Pacific market in 2020?”
“We are breaking new ground and refining our business model and customer offering as we speak. By 2020, we hope to have changed the way Asian enterprises think about fulfilling their legal needs and become first point of call for day-to-day legal documents as well as a portal to access broader legal resources. Where will be in 2020? Not sure but we will pace our expansion to make sure we offer awesome customer experiences each step of the way if and when we launch in new markets.”