Goodbye inflated lawyer fees. Hello online legal beagles

If you thought the days of big budget start-ups were long gone, think again. The Cohen brothers raised £10m from investment fund Durlacher to launch this all-singing, all-dancing online law site, retaining just under 50 per cent.

It’s been a slow process. The deal was struck back in 1998, but the brothers had to contend with the dotcom crash soon after. This was both a help and a hindrance. While they were unable to fully launch their ground-breaking idea, they did have time to tweak and test the back office system until it was perfect.

Plus, there have been significant changes to legal legislation in the time that (and parent company Epoq) have been under the radar.

In a bid to increase competition, the government has introduced the Legal Services Act, which waters down the raft of regulation binding lawyers to traditional channels. They can now compete freely online and deliver their services through new channels. could not have launched at a more opportune time.

The site is a portal for SME owners and consumers alike to carry out their legal wranglings. For straightforward procedures, like registering a business or drawing up a will, the lawbots make the process quick and spookily accurate with the software’s artificial intelligence. The document is then sent over to a qualified lawyer for approval. The process is painless and, more importantly, all included in a fixed fee.

For more complicated cases, the site will farm out your case to an experienced lawyer and the document will be sent back and forth via the system until both parties are completely satified.

The thing about this clever site is that it cuts down the amount of time that both clients and lawyers need to spend on cases, saving around 30 per cent on high street prices.

The revenue streams for the service are manifold. Epoq farms out the software as a white label service for law firms to manage their own online queries. It also partners with big corporates like HBOS and Natwest to take care of their legal relationships with SMEs.

Some 11,000 small business owners per month currently use the back end technology and this number should increase exponentially this year as word travels. The Cohens aren’t confining themselves to the UK either, and have already broken Europe and the US.

If you think the site sounds too good to be true, now’s your chance to test it. You can do a walkthrough of the site, using a real problem or an imaginary legal query, to see how handles your document. If you like what you see, you buy, if not, you still get an idea of how the final document will look.

It’s win – win!

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