DocPro is a legaltech platform which combines legal documentation services with cutting edge technology. In this interview with Asia Law Portal, Kim Chan, founder and CEO of DocPro, explains what motivated his move from the practice of law to becoming a legal tech entrepreneur, how DocPro is unique in the legal documentation space, and DocPro’s goals for a global presence
What is DocPro?
DocPro is the leading online provider of automated documents to businesses and individuals. DocPro’s mission is to make legal documentation affordable and accessible to everyone. Currently, DocPro operates a legaltech platform (DocPro.com) by combining legal documentation services with cutting edge technology.
DocPro is known specifically for its document generation tool that helps users quickly and efficiently create automated documents and contracts. Users can choose from over 1,700 templates through DocPro’s advance search function, complete a questionnaire to customise the template, and a legal document is generated automatically. DocPro helps to simplify contracting and free up time and resources from documents generation, so that users can focus on strategic decisions to improve their businesses.
What makes DocPro unique in the increasingly crowded document management and legal tech space?
LegalTech has not really taken off in any big way in the past 20 years. Unlike other sectors, there is no household name like Amazon, Airbnb or Uber that people will instinctively recognize when talking about LegalTech. The main reasons are:
- legal advice must be given by lawyers, and certain services provided by some of our competitors are grey;
- the bulk of the revenue from the $700+ billion legal industry is from law firms’ fees but no fees sharing is allowed between law firms and non-lawyers;
- law is very jurisdiction specific so it is hard to scale.
DocPro is different from the competition in the following ways:
1. Law firms are our Partners and not Competitors. We provide free digital marketing and lead generation for law firms, which could easily cost thousands of dollars per month. We refer SMEs from a blue ocean market, who would not otherwise use their services.
2. Access to 1700+ Documents. We have one of the most comprehensive databases for businesses and individuals online. We are getting more and more localised documents from our partner law firms.
3. Low cost and scalable. We are not hiring teams of lawyers to keep our costs low. We are priced 90% lower than our competition without compromising on quality.
4. Different Forms. We provide variations of document favouring different parties instead of a one size fits all approach.
5. Jurisdiction Engine. We try to cater for all common law jurisdictions. We have a proprietary engine to select the right governing law and jurisdiction. For more localized documents, they are being provided by our partner law firms.
What is your background in legal services?
My name is Kim Chan, the founder and CEO of DocPro. I am qualified in 5 common law jurisdictions and has over 20 years of legal experience in the legal industry. I qualified with a leading international law firm. Then I took up senior legal and compliance positions at major investment banks (Morgan Stanley, Standard Chartered and Bank of America).
Why did you transition from the practice of law to legal tech startup founder?
I graduated law in the late 90s, when the internet was just taking off, and I have always believed in bringing law online. At that time, I have been offered a job at a top international law firm and it would be an enormous opportunity cost to give up a highly paid job as a lawyer to pursue something uncertain.
After having worked for 20 years, there has been little change in legal industry. Law firms still charge by the hour in the same way, and are mainly targeting the same big clients who can afford their high rates. SMEs have on average 8 legal issues a year but are Ignored because they don’t have the legal budget. Legal tech has made very little dent to the legal industry and accounts for less than 3% of the market.
I feel that I have sufficient legal experience and financial security to provide accessible and affordable legal solutions to startups and SMEs. At the same time, many of the boutique firms do not have a digital presence with clients generated purely by referral. I feel that I can bridge the gap between the two by helping the boutique firms with digital marketing and at the same time refer to them those SME clients that need further legal support.
It is tough to move from a high paying job to investing in a startup, and we need to be lean and flexible initially. We are very proud of DocPro’s growth in users less than one year after our official launch. We are very optimistic about the future since we are creating a virtuous cycle – the more documents we have would lead to more users, which in turn would lead to more law firms joining us.
Why is DocPro headquartered in Hong Kong? What are your key markets? And your goals for the future?
Our website is developed in Hong Kong but our server is kept in Singapore. We would like to think of ourselves as a global player and not be bound by any jurisdictional restrictions. Our key markets are the major common law jurisdictions which account for a quarter of the world’s population. We have a proprietary jurisdiction engine to help select the governing law and jurisdiction for our documents. On the more jurisdiction specific documents, more and more law firms with specific local expertise in each jurisdiction to provide them.
We are moving towards free initial consultation and discounted rates to be provided by our partner law firms. We will be providing more features for our users and our ultimate goals are to employ artificial intelligence and blockchain into our legal solutions.