In a Nutshell: Consumers in India have long found it difficult to find ad hoc legal advice without a long-term contract with a law firm. LegalKart set out to solve that problem and help people who may struggle to have legal questions answered. The app connects Indian clients and lawyers on a pay-by-the-minute basis. The platform includes more than 8,000 lawyers who can answer questions on family, business, and property law, to name a few.
Dr. Arvind Singhatiya had a fulfilling career before he created LegalKart. He worked with companies including Acme Solar and Ola Cabs — the Indian equivalent of Uber — and he focused on building each organization’s legal and public policies.
“During my career, I realized that law is something with which an individual struggles in most types of businesses because there are all kinds of solutions available,” he said.
Dr. Singhatiya understood that when lawyers created their own law firms, they worked on constantly acquiring new clients. Clients would preferably stay with a lawyer long-term and provide years of business. That model didn’t do much for many individuals who needed assistance.
No model existed in India for lawyers and clients to connect on a short-term basis. For example, individuals may not know where to turn if they only have a two-page document and need legal feedback.
“You would have struggled a lot to even find a lawyer who will see your documents and give you advice,” Dr. Singhatiya told us.
That’s how Dr. Singhatiya came up with the idea for LegalKart, a service that allows individuals to hire lawyers on an ad hoc basis for consultations. Clients can talk to lawyers for a set number of minutes and are charged based on the length of their phone conversations.
Individuals can choose from a variety of payment methods for the service. When users specify the type of legal advice they need, they connect with a law expert via a third-party and select voice or video call.
LegalKart has enabled more than 73,000 calls between individuals and lawyers since it was founded.
Consultations Cover a Variety of Issues
Individuals can use LegalKart to seek advice on a variety of topics, including divorce, real estate planning, and startup policies.
Around 40% of Legalkart users discuss property concerns with their lawyers, while another 35% seek legal advice for family-related issues. Many people use the app for a second opinion on legal suggestions they have already received, seeking an independent third-party to assess the veracity of those recommendations.
Many of the app’s users live in India, though about 30% of calls come from global users who live in the US, UK, and Australia, and may own businesses or have family members in India.
“If you are based in the United States, you have a huge time difference, but you can just make a video call and consult a lawyer in India,” Dr. Singhatiya told us. “So, when they would like to consult a lawyer, they are choosing LegalKart as their first destination.”
The app is so efficient because an algorithm matches clients with the lawyer who best fits their needs. For example, LegalKart has lawyers who consult in 10 different languages, so individuals can book calls with experts who can understand them.
If a client would like to connect with a Tamil-speaking lawyer who is an expert in criminal law, the call would automatically go to the next available lawyer matching that description.
“The most important thing is that all the lawyers and all the calls are rated. So, our algorithms identify which lawyer is performing better, and who is getting more five stars and four stars,” said Dr. Singhatiya.
Clients Can Find Reputable, Vetted Lawyers
More than 8,000 lawyers from 800-plus cities and towns around India have signed up to offer services on LegalKart. Lawyers who are available on the platform have an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars, and 98% of clients report satisfaction with the legal advice they receive.
Individuals can decide after their first call whether they want to continue working with a specific lawyer. Sometimes, they may even have all of their legal questions answered in a single session.
Lawyers also benefit from the LegalKart platform. The app offers a suite of professional tools, including client onboarding and case documentation, and ways to share invoices and files. The app also provides bank-grade security for sending and receiving invoices.
Many legal professionals even make long-lasting client connections via the app. Though clients only have to buy a 15-minute consultation to start, many of them discover the value of having a legal consultant on their side. So, they keep coming back.
Legal teams also have the option of working outside of typical business practices, as LegalKart offers its services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So, if lawyers want to grow their legal firms, they can make themselves available more consistently.
The feedback from LegalKart users has also been positive thus far.
“In the last eight months, we have received feedback that with the help of independent legal advice through our platform and proper documentation, more than 45% users were able to cut short their litigation or avoid it completely,” Dr. Singhatiya told The Hindu.
LegalKart: Providing Customized Advice Worldwide
Before LegalKart, many people in India had difficulty finding legal advice. Unless they were businesses ready to enter a long-term partnership with a law firm, they may not have had much luck contacting lawyers willing to consult with them.
LegalKart services have clearly filled a significant need in the country, and the app has exploded in popularity since its inception.
“At this point in time, we are selling about 50,000 minutes a month, which was significantly more than last year at the same time,” said Dr. Singhatiya. “So, from 2,000 minutes to 50,000 minutes is what we have grown so far. And this is an exponential growth. We are seeing about a 30% repeat rate.”
The app also makes seeking legal advice more equitable. Clients only need to pay for advice on their particular issues, and they are also matched to high-quality lawyers regardless of their personal circumstances. On average, LegalKart users save 60% on their legal consultation fees as compared with using traditional legal services.
“You don’t need to worry about your stature, who you are, if you are a male or a female, poor or rich. You are you, and the calls are confidential, so you don’t need to even disclose your identity, because legal problems are sensitive most of the time,” Dr. Singhatiya said.
LegalKart also makes legal advice more accessible because the lawyers who are easier to understand are usually the highest rated. Highly rated lawyers, in turn, receive the most assignments from LegalKart.
“There is no one-size-size-fits-all solution, so those lawyers who are more empathetic and articulate in explaining their situation, their problem, their solutions, are more liked by the users,” Dr. Singhatiya said.