One pertaining problem faced by many startups and SMEs in the Middle East is the lack of access to high-quality and affordable legal services. Now, that’s not to say that there is a dearth of good lawyers in the region. It’s just that for most emerging businesses with little or no prior exposure to legal matters, it is often tough getting in touch with the right people at the right time.
Suzanna Kalendzhian, a.k.a the “Law Rebel” wants to resolve that once and for all.
Just in case the name doesn’t ring a bell, Suzanna is the woman behind Legal Advice Middle East, an AI-powered online legal services marketplace.
Getting in touch with the right lawyers was never easier in the ME
For starters, Legal Advice Middle East is a comprehensive platform that connects consumers with the best law firms across all 13 countries it currently operates in. Launched in 2016, the startup offers a wide range of services that collectively make it a one-of-a-kind platform in the region.
In fact, Legal Advice Middle East is the first company to have brought the concept of online legal services marketplace. In a conversation with StartUp Bahrain, Suzanna states that so far the startup has no direct competition in the region, except for “some local early-stage initiatives here and there.”
As for global competition, she added, there are a few noticeable similar platforms such as Legal Zoom, Justia, Avvo, and FindLaw. However, none of these companies currently operate in the Middle East.
On the question of how startups can benefit from Legal Advice MIddle East, Suzanna said:
“Being a startup ourselves, we understand the importance of quality and affordable legal support, especially at the initial stages of development, when available resources are very limited. Legal Advice Middle East provides such support by allowing startups to find, communicate and transact with lawyers in an efficient way through the platform.”
She added,“Startup founders can find ready answers to their questions in our legal database, get free initial advice from experienced lawyers online and hire them at competitive rates if needed. They also can purchase some standard legal services from participating lawyers at fixed fees with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.”
Changing “lawyers’ mentality” was tough
Suzanna, who has years of experience working at the intersection of legal practice and legal technology, told us the struggles she faced initially while getting Legal Advice Middle East on its feet.
Saying that consumers are usually proactive in seeking online resources to solve their legal issues, she implied that it was the legal industry that needed some convincing to get on board with her technology-driven platform.
“Lawyers resist changes, resist new technologies, and don’t want to fix what they do not see as broken,” she said, adding that things have gradually changed for the better now and Legal Advice Middle East currently has tie-ups with the majority of quality lawyers and law firms across the region
“Get a quote” initiative
Suzanna, who holds a Master’s degree in International Commercial Law (LLM, Hon.) and a Master’s degree in Marketing, has a special message to share with the StartUp Bahrain community.
The “Law Rebel” has told us that Legal Advice Middle East is launching a new initiative specifically designed to help Bahrain and the rest of the region’s startup communities. Dubbed “Get a quote,” this new platform enables entrepreneurs “to submit requests for quote to the participating lawyers, get their offers, and hire them through the platform.”
According to her, this marks a big leap forward in empowering consumers to make a more informed and cost-efficient decision while seeking legal services.