Legalwiz: Get your legal work done smartly & efficiently | The Financial Express

Legalwiz: Get your legal work done smartly & efficiently

This Ahmedabad-based startup handles business legalities

Legalwiz: Get your legal work done smartly & efficiently
For the common man and small businesses and startups, technology was a game-changer which would go a long way in providing a level-playing field by standardising legal services.” Shrijay Sheth, founder of Legalwiz.in

As mass layoffs become routine in the startup ecosystem and the funding winter sets in, Legalwiz.in, a leading Ahmedabad-based legaltech startup is not only holding its head above water but is in the process of expanding its team three fold by end 2022. Says 37 year-old Shrijay Sheth, founder of Legalwiz, a five year-old legaltech firm, “I strongly believe that startups can successfully apply the lessons learnt during the pandemic to deftly navigate the ongoing phase of turbulence.” While admitting that there had been “quite a bloat” in the IT industry during the pandemic with most companies registering exponential expansion and growth, Sheth warns the bubble is about to burst with the return to normalcy now.

Thankfully, however, legal technology startups are handling the transition in a far better manner. In fact, the pandemic accelerated digital adoption in the legal services sector in a big way. “The model which we and other legal tech startups follow, which is to use technology and software to provide legal services and support small businesses and MSMEs by making legal content accessible and affordable in a far quicker and efficient manner is a sustainable model,” avers Sheth.

In India, legal tech is a relatively new field for startups with most emerging in the last five to six years compared to the West where legal tech startups have been around for over 15 years. An MBA in corporate finance, Sheth, though not a lawyer himself, worked in the US for over five years with a leading legaltech giant LegalZoom.com before returning to Ahmedabad. “As an integral part of the analytics and strategy team, I acquired a valuable insider’s view of the industry,” Sheth recalls.“I realised that not only is legal technology not accessible to small businesses but is not affordable either,” he reminisces.

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That apart, the legal industry itself is largely fragmented with most firms specialising in a particular vertical of the profession. “For instance, CAs would only do audits while a firm specialising in trade marks would not be able to do legal drafting,” Sheth elaborates.

Encashing on the mismatch between standardised legal services and affordability and the disparity between “the umbrella lawyers,” the top notch lawyers with their fancy chambers and the large legal firms or “legal corporates”, Sheth decided to set up Legalwiz.in. This was around the time when many other legal tech startups like Vakil Search, LegalDesk, Lawyers24x and Provakil were entering the same domain.

“One thing was clear: for the common man and small businesses and startups, technology was a game-changer which would go a long way in providing a level-playing field by standardising legal services. If there is one thing I learnt during my stint with legaltech in the US was that sooner or later, access to justice would depend on access to technology,” quips the founder of Legalwiz.in. That apart, he also discovered that 95% of legal compliances could actually be standardised with a technology backbone. “I took a calculated risk by investing a majority of available funds and resources in technology at the back end,” Sheth recalls.

Not surprisingly, the pandemic came as a “sweet opportunity” for Legalwiz.in which was already totally digitised when Covid wrecked businesses. “During that time one in every 100 companies which opened in India were serviced by us,” Sheth claims adding that as on date, the startup already has a market share of 1% of the legaltech business with a total of 7,000 unique clients.

With an in-house staff of 45 employees, and a carefully vetted network of 40 affiliates across the country, Legalwiz.in raised a funding of `38 million mid-pandemic. “Recently we notched up our best revenue in five years of existence,” exults Sheth. And at a time when most unicorns are falling by the wayside leaving thousands jobless, the firm is all set to buck the trend with its plan to upscale three fold over the next one year.

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First published on: 05-12-2022 at 05:20 IST