In 2017, lawyer and entrepreneur Alex Solo co-founded Sprintlaw, a tech-enabled legal startup based in Australia. Their focus is providing cost-effective and efficient legal services to small businesses and startups. In this interview with Asia Law Portal, Solo explains the inspiration for Sprintlaw’s founding. And what they have planned for the future.
What is Sprintlaw and what inspired its’ founding?
Sprintlaw is a law + tech firm, that’s transforming legal business by embracing technology, efficiency, and simplicity. My co-founder and I left a top-tier Australian law firm to launch Sprintlaw in 2017. After seeing how complicated, expensive and frustrating legal services were for small businesses. And thinking we could do something about it, using technology and better processes.
Do you have plans to expand the service to compete for work from larger businesses? Might you become a competitor to large law firms?
Our focus from the start has been using technology to make legal services more efficient and affordable for startups and smaller businesses. These businesses traditionally either use suburban law firms, or just don’t consume legal services at all. As such, our core business focuses on a segment of the market traditionally ignored by larger law firms.
That said, we have recently launched an enterprise business line called ‘Sprintlaw Counsel’. This is targeted at helping in-house legal terms improve their efficiency using tech, and outsource their routine legal work. As this business line grows, we may compete with some of the larger mid-tier law firms.
We don’t intend to compete directly with top-end firms in the near future. As we focus on providing simple and semi-sophisticated legal services. That can be made more efficient using technology rather than highly complex, specialized services.
As a lawyer yourself – why did you choose to become a legal startup founder?
I started my first company during university as a ‘side hustle’ while I was studying, and immediately loved entrepreneurship. It is fast-paced, low on bureaucracy, and involved lots of creative problem-solving.
When I started working as a lawyer, I found it didn’t really match this skill set. Instead, being a lawyer often involved telling people the reasons they couldn’t do things. Whereas I was more excited by the idea that anything is possible!
I also saw the legal industry as the perfect market for innovation – it’s a very traditional industry with lots opportunities to use technology to improve processes and create new solutions. This was/is very exciting for a tech-nerd like me!
Do you see more legal work going fully virtual in the future?
Yes, I think that increasingly clients will be comfortable working with their lawyers virtually. Even in traditional firms, most lawyers now work with clients over the email and phone, and clients/lawyers only really see each other for critical meetings or relationship building.
I think the challenge for traditional law firms will be to work out how to run remote office teams and go truly ‘virtual’. We have been operating Sprintlaw this way for several years and it’s not straightforward – it requires investment in technology, changes to processes and a fundamental shift to work culture. But I do think it will slowly happen in the coming years, as it’s a much leaner and better way to run a business. COVID-19 is probably speeding the process up a little!
How have lawyers who work for Sprintlaw — and your clients — responded to working with Sprintlaw’s virtual business platform?
Our lawyers and clients love working with us online. For lawyers, it means they have the flexibility to work remotely, at times of their choosing, and have control over their work lives.
For clients, it means it’s easier and faster to engage with lawyers, and much cheaper. We have built our business with great customer service at the core, and it informs everything we do. And this has been reflected in our feedback from clients (we currently have an NPS of >90).