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Mike Roberts, LegalShield UK's Managing Director
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NEW APP SET WILL SHAKE UP THE WAY BRITS USE THE LAW

22 Jun 2019

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A US company is hoping to convince Brits that legal defence is a lifestyle choice and not a chore.

That’s the approach taken by the MD of the new UK arm of LegalShield Mike Roberts.

Roberts leads the UK office of LegalShield, which has operated in North America for over 45 years and boasts 4.5 million users.

While UK and US law differs, the company’s app LegalDefence offers the same subscription-based 24/7 access to solicitors and is now ready to hit the UK market.

Based in Oxfordshire for its strong tech hub, its UK team of twelve is backed up by over 700 staff across the Atlantic. The company has soft-launched already, with an official launch planned on 1st July.

Its currently twelve staff are preparing for 15,000 members or more to begin using the app in the next 12 months, said Roberts.

“We need to change the perceptions of the consumer,” he told BusinessCloud.

The app, which is first to market, offers access to thousands of solicitors for what Roberts describes as ‘limited big events’ such as moving home, rental agreements, and taking out a will.

But the app also offers access to legal solutions for ‘unplanned’ events, which Brits have been slower to follow up.

“In life, law happens - whether that be disputes at work or with neighbours or faulty goods, but we don't access legal services in that way.”

The UK move is long in the making. Roberts said that LegalShield US was approached by the Lord Chancellor's Office about the company's opportunity in the UK after calling for a more diverse and innovative legal services market.

Roberts said the time wasn’t right for the US company to make the move, partly because of technological restrictions, but it now is.

“We need to change the perception of the consumer. This is our law, it's readily accessible and we can make it very affordable.”

Part of the app’s ability to offer 24/7 support is through an AI-powered ChatBot called Gordon.

The technology analyses the queries put through the app before directing them to law firm Slater and Gordon and ultimately to a real solicitor.

“Access should not be controlled by your ability to pay for it, or only those that are willing and able to pay up to £500 an hour.”

Roberts said there was no doubt that more tech integration in the legal sector is on the way.

“In the old days, you made an appointment to see a doctor and the most difficult thing was getting past the receptionist because they would triage you. Today we triage ourselves.”

“That's a good analogy for the way we believe legal services need to be accessed because 20 years ago we'd never have thought about accessing health professionals in the way we do today.”