Need to consult a lawyer for a thorny legal problem? With LexMeet, help will just be a few clicks away on your smartphone. “Our LexMeet platform will revolutionize the legal tech industry. We are gearing to be the largest meeting place of lawyers and clients and marketplace for all things legal – like an Uber for lawyers” says Atty. Marlon P. Valderama, founder and Chief Executive Officer of LexMeet Inc., a startup legal tech company and a pioneer of e-lawyering in the Philippines.
LexMeet matches a client’s specific legal problem with a lawyer’s expertise, location and language. Valderama provides overall management of the startup and runs it together with his co-founders: Redg Fernandez who handles design, Gino Carlo Cortez as the lead tech, and Mel Jamero as the marketing whiz. When asked how they arrived in that name, Valderama would tell the story of how his co-founders were annoyed when he was texting them many times for a brainstorming session “Come on, let’s meet! Let’s start this thing!”. Valderama saw his numerous text messages and said to himself “We’ve got a company name!”. “Lex” in Latin means law while “Meet” means to see and speak to someone for the first time or to be introduced to.
The lack of an online facility to help our OFWs and SMEs in solving their legal problems is the prime motivation of Valderama in establishing LexMeet. The Philippines is an especially attractive market for e-lawyering, Valderama says, given its more than 10 million migrant workers scattered all over the world. There exists a demand for services for the legal issues left behind by these migrant workers, including marriage, child support and custody issues, inheritance, and investments. There is also an increasing number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and foreign investors wanting to do business in the Philippines needing legal advice.
A lawyer by profession, Valderama started his legal career in the Office of the Solicitor General but soon shifted to private practice. For 11 years, he worked in a law firm and in 2010, he decided to have his own law office. He then started his entrepreneurial journey by launching E-Lawyers Online (www.e-lawyersonline.com), a virtual law firm and e-lawyering platform, wherein Filipinos can register and seek legal advice online complete with appointment system and online payment gateway. With its success, he was motivated to share the benefits of e-lawyering with his fellow lawyers in the Philippines as well as in different parts of the world, so he created LexMeet.
Registration in the platform for both clients and lawyers is free. Clients submit a legal problem using the LexMeet forms by providing in advance their story, objectives and questions as well as any supporting documents they have. Clients need to load a minimum credit of P500 using PayPal or Dragonpay to access LexMeet’s Lawyer List and select a lawyer from there. LexMeet has a lawyer-client matching algorithm powered by machine learning that provides the client the right lawyer in terms of specialization, location and language relevant to the submitted legal problem. Once the client selects a lawyer and schedule and the latter accepts the same, they meet either via video conference or call conference. During their online conference, the client’s credits are automatically deducted and credited to the lawyer’s account until the former uses up the credits or one of them hangs up. There is also a feedback mechanism where clients can rate the service of the lawyer they selected.
Since its soft-launch last December 2017 and with very minor marketing effort, LexMeet already has more than 2,500 clients, mostly OFWs and SMEs and 58 lawyers. The Asian legal tech community also took notice. LexMeet is the only Philippine legal tech company to be invited as one of the exhibitors of TechLaw Fest 2018 in Singapore last April 2018, and a shortlisted contestant in the Singapore Legal Tech Venture Slam Pitching Competition and speaker in Tech Talk.
The startup is now in the process of rolling out their mobile application, which will be available in 2018. They have more features in their sleeved for their clients and lawyers and they are very much excited about it.
With the advent of block chain technology and artificial intelligence, LexMeet is now geared towards maximizing the potential of these new technologies for the use of lawyers and for delivering legal services to the public. They now have at least seven new features that they will incorporate in the website that will cater to all social strata such as smart contracts, predictive analytics, geo-location, among others.