Touchdown! Rocket Lawyer has landed in France. The firm, which has been operating on the other side of the Atlantic for a decade now, has made a business out of making legal services more affordable, simple and accessible to small and medium sized businesses as well as individuals. The legaltech giant has 20 million subscribers, drawn to, among other things, Rocket Lawyer’s attractive prices. We speak to the firm's general manager, Christophe Chevalley, to explain the firm's strategy.
Leaders League. How extensive is your range of products and just who are you targeting?
We have more than 150 different procedures online at the moment, for instance legal documents covering all aspects of law, we are as interested in helping businesses and the associated managers as we are individuals. We take care of issues that arise in the professional and private lives of individuals. Our services go from GDPR related questions to staff relations. The goal being to provide a legal solution to problems by putting the customer in touch with qualified legal personnel.
What sort of budgets are companies allocating to tackling legal issues these days?
It all depends on the size of the company and on its area of activity. Our clientele are more often than not small-business owners. For them, legal resources are often non-existent, they mainly call upon experts for accountancy matters. The type of services we offer takes two forms. There are of course savings to be made by going through us. For example, if you need a lawyer, you get with Rocket Lawyer the first half an hour of telephone consultation free of charge, provided you take out a subscription with us. For another thing, should our lawyer take the case, the individual in question receives a 33% reduction on their hourly rate and 10% discount on their subscription. In addition all our legal documents are available at €19.90. You can see why this might interest people running small businesses. When you go to a traditional lawyer or accountant it never costs less than €500. Our long term approach allows us to give people access to real legal services at an affordable price. Small companies don’t have legal departments, they don’t have the means, and find them too costly and complex to even consider.
Yet it is precisely these types of companies that are most vulnerable legally, as they do not possess the means to defend themselves. How does Rocket Lawyer help redress the imbalance?
You’ve hit upon our raison d’etre. Tackling this issue is our credo. Beyond the commercial aspect there is a real democratic purpose to our mission in the sense that we believe everyone should have the right to affordable, quality legal advice. At the Paris Commercial Court one company in four ends up winding up because they can’t recuperate outstanding debts. Theoretically, the full power of the law is available to ensure that companies get what they are owed. Keeping to the example of outstanding debts, with Rocket Lawyer, small companies can have access to the necessary legal documentation without having to pay over the odds. And that can go all the way to the Commercial Court. We cover an array of legal domains. Our ambition is to provide a solution to all the problems we encounter in daily life. Our site contains an open and free-to-use forum that anyone can use which is moderated by our lawyers who are there to answer your questions.
What methods does Rocket Lawyer employ to ensure you are in compliance with the GDPR?
It’s very simple. There are easy to use documents on our site that allow users to comply with the GDPR. These take mere minutes to fill out and ensure that your business conforms to European law as it pertains to personal data etc. By answering a series of questions, you get a tailor-made document. This type of legal product is in high demand at the moment. When a client has a particularly unique issue, we put them in touch with a lawyer in our network who has experience in the specific domain in question and who is based near the client.
What obstacles to your development has Rocket lawyer encountered?
Rocket Lawyer only arrived in the French market a year ago and we are coming along nicely. The company has been successfully operating in the US for a decade now, where we have some 20 million subscribers. We are still a young company in France but we are developing strongly. The main difficulty I would say is making the general public aware of who we are and what we do. There are two things we want to get across. The first is that people don’t always realize that there is a legal solution to their difficulties. We have to show business owners and individuals that a legal solution exists. Rocket Lawyer is on a mission of evangelization for the law in this regard. The second difficulty we face is convincing people that interacting with a legal advisor online and resolving your legal problems yourself can be equally as effective as going through a traditional law firm. People are so used Googling things in order to find free solutions. The challenge for us is to convince the public that we are a trusted source and that it really is possible, for a small price, to solve your legal problems by using our services. Changing long established mindsets is not an easy task, but it is one that we relish. We want to make the public aware that they have the power to act and that there is a solution to their legal problems that’s simple, effective and financially affordable.
How have you set about building your credibility as a platform which can handle complex legal issues?
Credibility is key. Dalloz (France’s main legal publisher) have invested in our company. Their support is precious. All the legal intelligence that our tools possess is drawn from their group and regularly updated. This reassured us that the we can stay on top of legal developments in the French market. For it is extremely important that Rocket Lawyer’s legal content is 100% reliable. This is not the case for all companies offering these services online. Users of Rocket Lawyer can rest assured that our platform is trustworthy because our service has powerful, credible backers from within the legal industry. The way in which we represent clients is also our strong suit. Our goal is to demystify law – Rocket lawyer makes the law accessible to all. The legal world is often perceived as esoteric and far from the everyday life of the man on the street. However it is essential that everyone familiarizes themselves with it and is comfortable using it in their daily lives so they are better armed to deal with whatever life throws at them.
(Translation by Simon McGeady)