Legal Advice Middle East, the first online legal services marketplace in the region, has been selected for the semi-final round of the Innovating Justice Challenge 2016, run by the Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL).
Earlier this year, 69 justice innovations from around the world were shortlisted by HiiL in this year’s Challenge from more than four hundred applications. Legal Advice Middle East, the legal technology startup from Dubai, UAE, is an online platform connecting consumers and lawyers across the region. It has been selected to be among the 13 business innovations that have progressed to the semi-final of the SME Empowerment Challenge 2016, and is the only challenger based in the Middle East.
Recognizing the need for justice services to keep abreast of modern communications and technology, the SME Empowerment Challenge seeks to equip and strengthen innovative business models in order to promote their success. The Challenge, run by HiiL, encourages the use of modern technology and innovations to address the worldwide need for more accessible legal assistance and advice.
Hague Institute for Innovation of Law is committed to making legal support available and accessible to anyone with a legal issue or conflict. By seeking out and supporting justice entrepreneurs, HiiL encourages new ideas and technologies that put legal assistance within the reach and understanding of everyone who needs it. HiiL’s Justice Accelerator offers challenges to promising legal start-ups that incorporate ingenuity and technology to bring about change in the world’s legal systems, while helping Justice entrepreneurs to improve their initiative and connecting them with support and funding.
Legal Advice Middle East harnesses the power of the Internet to connect people seeking answers to legal questions with lawyers who are ready to help them. Anyone can go on to legaladviceme.com to ask a legal question which will be answered by a lawyer who is qualified and experienced in that particular issue. Users may consult with lawyers via live chat, phone, or a public Q&As.
The website provides a free online law database, explanations of legal terms, and a library of answers to legal questions and articles on an array of legal topics. For further and more in-depth consultation, visitors can search for, compare and select attorneys and law firms based on location, area of expertise, language or rating.
For participating lawyers, Legal Advice Middle East streamlines the process of finding clients without expensive advertising costs. Lawyers are able to connect online with prospective clients who are looking for the knowledge and experience that they can provide. All information on the website is provided to clients free of charge, removing the risk and guesswork from the process of seeking legal assistance.
The idea behind Legal Advice Middle East was created when founder, former lawyer, Suzanna Kalendzhian, realized the difficulty for ordinary people in getting initial legal assistance and in finding the right lawyers to solve their legal issues.
“I realized that the big challenge many people face in doing business in this region is in finding the trusted professionals to consult,” Suzanna says. “That’s one of the reasons why we believe our innovation is so important and helpful. Our online platform helps people to find the right lawyers at the right time.”
Legal Advice Middle East is now the only platform of its kind in the Middle East. It is an online legal services marketplace, connecting lawyers across the region with the people who need their knowledge and services, and providing a free source of information on legislation and a user-friendly means of finding the perfect lawyer for any particular issue.
It is Legal Advice Middle East’s commitment to making the law easy to access and understand that attracted the young business to the HiiL’s Innovating Justice Challenge. “HiiL gives us an amazing opportunity to share our ideas with the world and change the vision of how to do business in the Middle East,” says Suzanna Kalendzhian. “We simply do what we love and truly believe that our platform can change people’s lives.”
The next phase of the Challenge will require the Legal Advice Middle East team to attend and pitch their innovation at a regional Boostcamp in Kyiv in September. The HiiL Justice Accelerator team will select up to ten innovations from the Boostcamps to proceed to the final round of the Challenge. Finalists will then pitch their initiatives at the Hague Innovating Justice Forum in December.
“We would like to express our profound gratitude to the many supporters who have carried us thus far,” says Suzanna. “Whatever the future may hold, we will continue to do our part to make a difference in the world by helping people to get legal help they need.”