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8 April 2021
Unsplash © Philip Myrtorp

Going for growth: getting closer to our customers to fuel global expansion

We made a big decision for our business last year. Having founded LawAdvisor in Melbourne and grown our business in Australia for a number of years, it was time to get serious about global growth – and for us that meant moving our headquarters and some of our top team to the UK.

The journey from idea to startup to scale-up is one that comes with many challenges and many big decisions to make, and this move was undoubtedly  one of the decisions we spent a lot of time thinking about.

Decisions, decisions

Our business was founded to address a significant issue – that those procuring legal services are poorly served as a result of deeply embedded, legacy processes and a reluctance to adopt digital technologies.

Since 2015, we’ve tried to help solve that problem in a number of ways. First, we looked at access to justice, recognising that huge proportions of those with a potential legal case simply do not know how to get the advice they need to assess its merits and pursue it. We built a platform to answer the questions these people had, connect them to the lawyers that could best advise them, and enable them to work with those lawyers in a simple, seamless digital environment. This platform was incredibly popular and showed just how big the access to justice problem was, but it became clear to us that the market wasn’t quite ready for it yet. Our technology helped connect people with lawyers, but the lawyers were still largely set in their archaic, analogue ways.

Same, same, but different

Realising that this would take some time to change, one of our first big decisions was to shift our focus to how that same process and technology problem manifested itself in the corporate market, and how we could solve the challenges that larger law firms and corporate legal departments were facing. 

We developed and refined our technology to suit the needs of those businesses, and the ways they procured legal services and managed legal matters as they progressed. Again, we had great success here, with major law firms and in-house legal teams excited about the potential of our technology to bring new levels of productivity to their operations and improve the collaboration and communication between all parties involved in the course of a legal matter.

However, we were now facing a new challenge. While there was significant interest in what we were doing and how we could help legal teams, as an Australia-based startup speaking to Australia-based legal teams, our immediate addressable market was holding us back. We were convincing domestic companies and the local offices of multinationals of the value we provided, but rolling out our technology outside of Australia was a much more difficult conversation. For the most part, that’s because the ultimate decision-maker needed to trigger that wider rollout was based elsewhere and may not have ever had first-hand conversations with us, or seen what our technology could do.

Changing the dynamic

We decided to change that. Relocating our HQ to the UK was a big move for us, but early indications are that it’s absolutely the right thing to do for our business.

London is one of the most important global cities for business and is widely recognised as a central hub for industries such as fintech – the same can be said for the law and the legaltech sector. Some of the most significant international law firms and global business giants have their headquarters in or around London – and as such the ultimate decision-makers that influence our ability to rollout our technology internationally are here too.

As we were making these decisions, we were also changing how we went to market – we went from creating very bespoke implementations of our technology to creating SaaS solutions that could be configured to embed legal teams’ IP and ways of working. To ensure these SaaS solutions worked for the whole market – and not just those firms who we’d already worked with – we assembled a steering group of leading legal teams to help inform our product development. 

Pulling this kind of industry collaboration together just wouldn’t have been possible outside of London. It’s been crucial to our current success, and is helping us lay the foundations for truly transformative solutions that have the potential to become the industry standard.

Getting closer to these collaborators and decision-makers, and positioning ourselves to influence both their thinking and actions, was the primary factor for our relocation. 

A global hub for legal technology

London is an incredibly attractive global base for us. Not only does it provide us with the proximity to some of our biggest customers, partners, and prospects, it’s a city with talent in abundance. Whether that’s software developers, legal experts, project managers or a combination of all three – this provides us with confidence that as we grow, we can hire the people we need to make our ambitions a reality.

And we are a team with big ambitions. We’re not happy with the status quo. We’re not content to let cases go unanswered and clients badly managed. We want to shake things up and make things better. We want to revolutionise the practice of law and bring it into the 21st century.

We feel that what we’ve built has the potential to do just that. We hope that it will become the industry standard for improving legal service delivery. We believe that moving to London will help us accelerate the change that we want to see in the legal world, and breathe fresh life into the sector with transformative new technology.

Brennan Ong – Founder and CEO at LawAdvisor