Legal Tree is a legal tech startup and social enterprise with the goal of making legal services simple and affordable. In this interview with Asia Law Portal, Jason Arteche, Legal Tree’s Owner and Founder, explains what inspired him to found the company, the state of legal technology in the Philippines, and what’s in store for the future.
What is Legal Tree and what inspired you to found it?
Legal Tree is a legal tech startup and social enterprise with the goal of making legal services simple and affordable.
I founded Legal Tree because I want to reach out and help Filipinos who can’t easily access legal services when they need it. According to the World Justice Project and United Nations (UN), 80% of Filipinos who need legal assistance don’t receive it while at least 1 million small and medium businesses don’t have access to legal services. The UN also discovered that there is only 1 lawyer for every 2,200 Filipinos, when the optimum ratio is 1 lawyer for every 250 Filipinos.
Legal Tree seeks to solve this problem by making legal services inexpensive and convenient to use through technology. Our goal is to empower Filipinos to protect their rights and make legal services easily available to them.
What is Legal Tree doing to solve this problem?
Legal Tree provides a convenient online platform that connects potential clients and lawyers. We maintain a growing online directory of lawyers and law offices, complete with their business address, legal background and specialization. Nearly 130 lawyers, called Partner Lawyers, are part of this directory which anyone can use anytime to find a lawyer.
If you need assistance in choosing a lawyer, you can submit your legal question to us through our “Ask an Attorney” service and our nearest Partner Lawyer with the right specialization will contact you for a consultation. This service is completed within 1 to 2 business days and uses a fixed affordable price.
You can also create personal and business documents on Legal Tree. Using our innovative Q&A tool, you can easily make documents such as contracts and affidavits anytime, anywhere within minutes.
How do you think technology is impacting the Philippine legal industry?
We’ve observed that the legal industry has become more open to digitalization and modernization. Many lawyers now use technology to conduct legal research and read Supreme Court decisions. There are now rules for electronic filing of pleadings and virtual hearings. In fact, our latest batch of bar examination passers took their oaths through online video conference.
Legal Tree supports this movement of maximizing technology to remove barriers and make the law more inclusive.
As previously discussed, we are focused on bridging the gap between client and lawyer. Our seamless process for consulting lawyers challenges the traditional thinking that hiring a lawyer’s services is expensive and burdensome. Legal Tree also simplifies the process of drafting personal and business documents through our innovative Q&A tool.
What are your future plans for Legal Tree?
In everything we do and intend to do, we make sure our actions contribute to the goal of making legal services simple and affordable.
In the future, we plan to donate a portion of our earnings to support legal aid organizations. We want to partner with them in their legal aid missions, pro-bono programs, and information drives.
We’re also exploring options on partnering with local government units to formulate a legal aid program specifically designed for micro, small and medium businesses.
So far the feedback from our clients and Partner Lawyers has been amazing. With this collective support, we hope to continue helping more people moving forward.
You can learn more about us and how we fulfill our goal by visiting our website.