Support Legal, the NewLaw provider in the Middle East and Africa, has launched in the UAE and is radically changing the way legal services are delivered to SMEs
Designed by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, they combine technology with labour and knowledge arbitrage to enable the benefits of proactive legal counsel for SME’s and reduce the worry of affordability.
By banning the billable hour entirely, Support Legal is the first legal services provider in the region to operate solely on fixed fees. Traditionally, lawyers have charged clients by the hour and this has been the case for decades, with high fees the main subject of complaints. To combat this, the team have started a subscription-based model—agreeing on a scope of work at a set monthly fee with unlimited services—or a one-off fee for a defined project.
Support Legal’s co-founding team Zoë Blakemore, Lee McMahon and Patrick Rogers have each worked in the region for almost a decade, both in top tier international law firms and challenging in-house roles. With a depth of experience across a wide range of corporate, commercial and finance matters, they have real insight into the needs of businesses operating in, from and into the region. According to the co-founders, the UAE’s vibrant start-up and SME sector offered fertile ground for the launch of Support Legal in the Middle East and Africa.
Patrick Rogers explains, “The UAE Government’s focus on attracting and developing scalable SMEs speaks right to the heart of what we do. We offer smart support and advice from seasoned lawyers at the lightning speed required for new businesses. Our focus isn’t just about how you operate here – we want to help local businesses become international businesses. With the benefit of thousands of international business transactions behind us, and experience as entrepreneurs ourselves, we can truly partner with start-ups and SMEs from day one to drive their ambitions forward.”
“To deliver law differently, we took a long hard look at the traditional model and at the ways others around the world have started to disrupt the sector. Doing away with the layers of trainee and junior lawyers who contribute to the high fees of traditional firms, we work with only the most experienced. All of our team have at least 10,000 hours’ experience so the advice you receive is on point every time. You never pay for someone to learn on the job,” added Zoë Blakemore. “We also allow our team to work flexibly, matching their availability to client needs, meaning no more unhappy lawyers chained to their desk at midnight grinding out another billable hour fee for the client.”
Integration of Technology
“The legal world has been slow to adopt technology as a way to streamline its operations and to enhance the delivery of its services, and we knew we had to be different,” explained Lee McMahon when asked how innovation and technology can revolutionise the legal industry for all involved. “From the outset we have built our model around best-in-class technology and new working methods. In the early stages, we have concentrated on efficiency in our operations to minimize overheads, passing those savings to our clients. We are continuing to invest in technology and before the end of 2017, we will launch a product for clients which has never been deployed in the region before. Watch this space!”