(photo) Group photo of the CanLaw team: Mamta Thaker (Sales & Business Development), Pauline Ting (Content Writing), Aladin Bouzerd (Tech), Loo Soon Yi (CEO), Pang Jo Fan (Marketing & Communications)
The perfect guide to get you the lawyer you need
Back in 2015, two individuals had decided to take their relationship to a new level with the purchase of their first home. They eventually found an apartment for sale and paid a deposit to secure their booking. Their next step was to find a lawyer, which they did through word-of-mouth.
The two thought everything was fine and dandy since it had been three months since they started the purchase process with the lawyer. It came as a shock to the couple when their appointed lawyer called to inform that the seller had gone bankrupt, thus cannot proceed with the sale of the property. Since having paid the deposit directly to the seller, it was an arduous process to get their money refunded by the seller.
The whole debacle left Loo Soon Yi and his soon-to-be wife feeling worn and stressed out, with a marred their view on the law worked in terms of protecting their rights as a buyer without breaking the bank.
Creating a solution that allows Malaysians to find their right fit when it comes to lawyers, Loo introduced the CanLaw platform that seeks to innovate legal services together through technology to ensure justice for everybody.
Business Today speaks to Loo, who is CanLaw’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer, about the platform’s journey of offering the world with open access to justice.
Business Today (BT): Tell us more about CanLaw.
Loo Soon Yi: CanLaw is a legal-tech start-up that help members of the Malaysian public to find the right lawyers according to what the customers need. Up until now, people usually find lawyers through word-of-mouth or referrals from bankers and property agents, since lawyers have limited marketing means due to the strict publicity rules that govern the profession.
With CanLaw, people can now find the perfect lawyer for them and it also serves as a platform for lawyers to be discovered by potential clients. We want to remove the barrier between the general public and the perceived intimidating process of lawyer-searching. In doing so, we are ultimately in the business of opening access to justice.
BT: Is there a need for it in Malaysia?
Loo: One of our unique selling points is in the mechanics. Instead of blindly browsing and individually contact lawyers for quotations or physically visiting law firms one by one, users can send in their legal issue and compare up to five legal fee quotes and lawyer profiles. This would allow them to make an informed choice of which lawyer(s) to book an appointment within just a few clicks in the app.
BT: How has the reception been so far?
Loo: The response has been mostly positive. Users particularly enjoy the painless process of being connected to experienced lawyers who can provide them affordable legal guidance. Many lawyers have also been very supportive of our movement to innovate the legal profession through technology.
Our user-base have seen exponential growth since we launched full platform in February 2017 through various channels and marketing initiatives. We are getting about two to five user requests per day and plan to continue growing this by building our brand awareness through various collaborations and partnerships.
BT: What are some of the challenges you faced with the platform?
Loo: Some of them include the heavy regulations governing the legal industry today. Some lawyers are worried that technology would disrupt the industry, resulting to some resistance to our platform. In fact, CanLaw only seeks to help lawyers improve and grow their practice. As for the public in Malaysia, legal technology and online lawyer-discovery itself is something new to the market. The hard part is gaining their trust, but it is all part and parcel of a start-up’s journey.
BT: What are your aspirations for CanLaw?
Loo: We’ve always had regional expansion in mind and to become Southeast Asia’s legal knowledge hub – the go-to website for legal service discovery. However, right now we are more focused on the Malaysian market and plan to become the platform of choice to help both the public and lawyers alike.