An Australian company called Legaler will be at ABA Techshow this week previewing its cloud platform that will enable lawyers to provide legal advice and consultations via video chat through a feature called LiveAdvice. The platform will also serve as a client portal for lawyer-client messaging, document sharing and scheduling.
Slated to launch in a public beta version in May, the focus of the platform will be on enhancing lawyer-client communications, its co-founder, Kia Kavoosi, told me in an interview last month. This initial release will feature real-time video advice, messaging, real-time notifications, document management, file sharing and scheduling.
Lawyers who use the site will get a profile page through which clients can connect with them for messaging and video chat. The video chat will work directly in a browser with no special software needed, Kavoosi said, as well as through an iOS app that the company also plans to release in May. Because it is cloud-based, lawyers and clients can connect through the platform at any time from anywhere.
“Clients are looking for a better way to communicate with their lawyers,” Kavoosi said. “They want to have easier, technologically enabled access and updates on their legal matters.”
Legaler custom built its own video app, Kavoosi said. It will enable one-click access to video chat through the Web or through the iOS app. An Android app will be released later.
This saves both the lawyer and client the time involved in meeting face-to-face, Kavoosi said. Meetings can take place quickly without the client having to travel to the lawyer’s office.
I asked Kavoosi why a simple phone call would not suffice for quick meetings of this type. He offered two reasons. One is the stronger connection that comes from a face-to-face video chat. The other is collaboration. The video will include a chat and messaging window where participants can share links and other information. At some point the company plans to add the capability to collaborate on documents while in the video chat.
The messaging function “will break down barriers between lawyer and client” and allow them to engage more organically, Kavoosi said.
Other platforms that have offered legal advice by video have failed because they have been cumbersome to use, Kavoosi believes. Legaler will be different because it will enable video chat with one or two clicks.
Initially, the video feature will be set up to facilitate communications between lawyers and their existing clients. Eventually, it will expand to allow lawyers to meet with prospective clients.
Legaler is not designed to serve as a full practice management application. By focusing on lawyer-client communications, Kavoosi said, “we want to focus on the 20 percent of practice management that makes a difference for 80 percent of the lawyers.” Other practice-management functions may later be added to the platform through integration with third-party applications.
I have not yet seen a working demonstration of the platform. Kavoosi provided me with the screencaps you see above. If you are attending ABA Techshow this week, check them out and let me know what you think.