1) Startup Profile
The startup Dragon Law, created in Hong Kong, is transforming the painful legal paperwork involved when building business contracts, incorporating a business or protecting intellectual property by providing businesses a legal document builder solution that is “safer, 10 times faster and 5 to 10 times cheaper“, according to Karen Ng, regional director of Dragon Law.
At the core of the business is the document builder App, taking the clients step-by-step through a set of simple questions to build a well-drafted legal document. The service is now in English and soon in Chinese.
- Identify the right legal document for your needs
- Customize the terms to your specific business by answering a few questions understandable by a business person with no legal background
- Print, sign online, share and invite others to sign online too
- Organize and store in the cloud to access from any device, at any time
There are 2 subscriptions plans, the Starter giving only access to the document builder with service on demand, and the Professional, giving access to the document buildr and to the in-house legal team for any help/ questions needed on legal documents/anything regarding the company setups/visas/trademarks.
Date created: April 2013
Team: 35 persons; mix of lawyers, tech and business development
Users: Businesses of all sizes, especially tech startups and small entreprises at the moment
Markets: Incorporated in Hong Kong, the company expanded in Singapore in June and plan to market their solution to other geographies in Asia Pacific
Achievements: They have a base of 1000 clients, large part incorporated in Hong Kong, they service on a day to day basis around 200 businesses across various industries and won the ICT award and a Cyberport incubatee. They have been featured in Forbes.
2) Startup Analysis : Dragon Law
Innovative level: 4/5
Dragon Law has been founded by Daniel Walker, a previous lawyer, who noticed a gap for startups and SMEs to access legal support. Jake Fisch brought in the idea of using technology to basically give access to more businesses and entrepreneurs to conduct legal works in a cost effective manner but also to bring efficiency and time saving. That is how they came up with Dragon Law.
But the real innovation actually lies in the subscription base model and announces the end of the old “hourly billing” model:
“There is a lot of similar companies in the US and UK in the legal tech space which were just selling templates. We wanted to get away from that and brought in a subscription base model where clients can have access to the platform at anytime and on a unlimited basis. We also evolve into getting companies with a workflow rather than just legal documents” explains Karen.
Funding : 2/5
According to the Forbes, Dragon Law raised a $1.5 million seed funding in January 2015.
Team expertise: 4/5
Jake Fisch, graduated from Harvard Law, has co-founded the Venture Capital & Private Equity company NEST Hong Kong, which invests “in startups and the founders behind them”. Daniel Walker used to run a legal startup “Lawyers without ties”, a Hong Kong-based legal consultancy for startups, SMEs and global firms. Stephan Hablutzel is the most recent addition to the team, joining as COO, bringing with him 22 years of Asia-Pacific experience, most recently as the Managing Director of the consultancy firm Rhumb Line Management International. The startup has an in-house legal team assisting the clients.
Track record : 2/5
Dragon Law has a base of 1.000 clients, mostly in Hong Kong and 200 clients are served on a day-to-day basis.
The Document Builder software is, by definition, specific to a legal juridisction. They are planning to extend to other legal jurisdictions in Asia Pacific and they will have to adapt their product accordingly. For the Professional plan including legal advice services, Dragon Law refers the clients to law firm partners when there is a need. They have 15 law firms partners in Hong Kong and 5 in Singapore, and will also need to find new partners as soon as they want to extend to new countries.
3) Digital transformation potential of Dragon Law
The business model of Dragon Law has the potential to transform the law industry, which is usually seen as traditional and conservatist.
Large organizations, whether they have in-house lawyers or they are hiring lawyers according to their needs, have shown a surprising interest in the service, originally targeting small companies and SMEs, to save money and time.
Dragon Law is basically 5 to 10 times cheaper than law firms. “Lawyers in Singapore normally charge about 350 SGD/hour for a junior lawyer, while a partner lawyer would cost between 800-1000 SGD/hour. Small businesses would spend about 6.000 SGD per year, but they don’t consult lawyers as these are considered too expensive” explains Birgit Rutten from Dragon Law.
The gain of time also allows the companies to focus more on their core business and more important concerns.
But Dragon Law’s intention is not to replace law firms, it acts as a matchmaking service for clients and lawyers. “We are deliberately not set up as a law firm, we are set up as a service provider. In regards to legal advice, we then work with law firm partners and refer clients to them when there is a need” clarifies Karen.