The craze of getting the general public to finance a business — and run the risk of failure — has taken a giant leap in the legal profession
Fancy a slice of a law firm? Now your dream can come true thanks to a crowdfunding scheme to launch the Law Studio, which aims to “bridge the gap between what consumers and businesses want from a legal services provider and what is currently on offer”.
Crowdfunding so far in the legal profession has been limited to various efforts by students to get the rest of us to cough up the fees for law degrees. Motivations have ranged from the simple “I fancy being a lawyer, so give me some money” (see Vanessa Knowles), to “God commanded me to become a lawyer, so give me some money” (see South Carolina’s Julianna Battenfield).
Now an internet personality known only as “Victoria H” is going a step farther. Claiming to be a qualified litigation solicitor, Victoria is rattling her cyber begging bowl in a bid to rake in business start-up financing of £35,000.
What will your investment buy?
“The Law Studio will offer an on-line platform and mobile app,” claims Ms H. That platform will allow “members to quickly create, send, store and even sign legally binding agreements and contracts at the drop of a hat without the need for lengthy, expensive and often complex legal advice from a traditional law firm”.
All it will take is a few quid from a few thousand people and the magic circle will be yesterday’s breakfast. So far the proposal has attracted precisely nought pounds sterling, but the appeal was only launched a couple of days ago.
The idea has its genius in the heart-rending story of Victoria’s father, who ran a small business. Many years ago, when Vicky was a law student, Papa H ran into an employment law dust up.
“I will not bore you with the details,” says Victoria mercifully on her crowdfunding website, “but there was no contract of employment and months of lengthy and costly litigation followed. I recall my father saying at the time that it would have been too costly and time consuming to have a contract drawn up so he didn’t seek legal advice until an issue arose”.
“Regrettably, as a now qualified litigation solicitor this scenario is something I see replayed in varying business and consumer contexts. This experience has sparked a passion in me to provide everyone with access to legal services that are fundamental to their businesses and day-to-day lives without it being costly, time consuming or complex.”
So where successive governments have failed to get to grips with the conundrum of balancing a faltering legal aid system with a growing public need for legal advice, Victoria arrives on a big white cyber horse to save the day. The only problem is — she needs us to pay for it.
Arguably all a bit harsh on Ms H, her innovative idea and tenacious spirit? Perhaps — but she hasn’t endeared herself to Legal Cheek by branding her Law Studio crowdfunding site with an image of a gavel. Only recently we pointed out that the misconception that gavels are wielded in British justice runs deep — but we expect a litigation specialist lawyer to know better.
Nonetheless, the executive team at Cheek Publishing enterprises has been weighing up the possibility of getting involved in an alternative business structure. If we whack in a quid to the Law Studio, perhaps the editor can be senior partner.