Please introduce yourself (any co-founders) and your startup?
Legally Yours is comprised of 2 Co-Founders – Mira Stammers and Karen Finch. Both Mira and Karen are qualified lawyers who were disenchanted with the way the legal profession invoiced and delivered legal services to clients. They wanted to disrupt the status quo of billing for time and offer clients an alternate to connect with lawyers who invoiced based on output of work.
They also wanted to enable lawyers to have a better work/life balance by taking the pressure off marketing and business development within their practice and instead allow them to focus on the provision of quality, fixed-fee, transparent legal services.
Legally Yours is in essence a legal marketplace for connecting clients to lawyers who only operate on a fixed-fee, transparent, client-focused basis across a range of legal specialisms, including family law, property, commercial, IP, estate planning and employment law.
How did you go from idea, to MVP and launch?
Mira Stammers founded Legally Yours in 2013. Mira returned to Melbourne from having worked in London as a banking and finance lawyer for several years. Mira had worked through the GFC and had been part of an international banking practice that was extremely innovative about its service delivery and pricing methodologies.
However, when Mira began looking at the legal market in Melbourne, in became evident that nothing much had changed. Lawyers were still leaving the law because of the inflexible nature of private practice, and clients were still frustrated by how archaic the profession was, especially in relation to billing methods.
Mira wanted to changed all that. She wanted to create a marketplace where lawyers could work virtually and flexibly, and clients could connect with client-focused lawyers who charged on a fixed-fee rather than hourly basis. So Legally Yours was born.
Mira wishes she had read The Lean Start-Up or had even an inkling of an idea about MVP’s when Legally Yours was first launched, because Mira actually broke all of the rules for lean start-ups. Mira first launched in 5 states at once, with a live pitching platform where clients could post their jobs and lawyers could bid for the work.
Mira had researched the market extensively, but hadn’t launched a MVP to test whether it met market expectations. It was a custom built site that cost a fortune and was very hard (and expensive) to change.
What challenges did you face during this period and how did you overcome them?
Soon after launch Mira realised she actually had very little idea about how to build a client base. In fact, her first few clients were friends of family, and then it just went really really silent for a while. Mira had to teach herself digital marketing and throw herself into promoting the business, and she did just that.
Soon the numbers started to grow, but then Mira encountered another problem. Mira realised that Legally Yours was getting a lot of sign ups and job listings from clients, but not enough to satisfy the 60 or so lawyers who had joined the panel. Mira also saw that while clients were posting their legal matters, the jobs were not converting.
She had to make a call. Mira had spent a fortune on this wiz bang website, but it wasn’t converting.
So Mira made a bold decision to take the pitching platform offline and start handling enquiries manually so she could really:
(a) see what clients wanted and needed, and
(b) see what was going wrong/right with conversions.
To this day the pitching platform has not gone back up. We’ve found that a bespoke digital matching service is the best way forward at the moment. This is not very scalable, but we’re OK with that for now. We keep making slight changes to our model based on client and lawyer feedback, and it’s working.
During this journey to build and launch your startup what is one thing you look back on with a sense of achievement?
At Legally Yours, we are proud of three things:
- That we did it when everyone told us we couldn’t
- That we have helped many lawyers, and women in particular, build their online law firms
- That clients feel there is a company that listens to what they want and helps them connect to the right lawyer at a fixed price
Offer us one insight, tip, marketing strategy or growth hack that has worked really well for you and your startup?
Ask the client what they want to know about before you start writing blogs or doing any content marketing. Otherwise your content might be irrelevant or pitched at the wrong level.
How is your startup going and what do you aim to achieve in the next 3, 6, 12 months?
Our client base and legal panel is increasing significantly year on year. This year we have rebelled against the traditional legal marketing mediums, and have instead ramped up our social media presence through bi-weekly FB lives, creating our own YouTube channel, posting regular Tweets that include video links, and positioning ourselves as the subject matter experts for all legal matters through online, innovative collaborations and networking groups.
Over the next 3-6 months we will continue with this digital strategy that is receiving thousands of views when we go live. We will also continue to be a guest speaker wherever possible so we can spread our disruptive message that there is a real alternative when engaging a lawyer for legal services. It can be a pleasant and transparent process!
Is there anything else you want to tell us about?
We love being legal disruptors! Our passion is creating change where ever possible and spreading our message of fixed-fee, client focused, transparent lawyers to the marketplace.