Legal tasks can be daunting, and finding a trusted and reliable attorney to consult is never an easy task. But starting legal services marketplace would make such tasks ridiculously easier.
In most developed countries, specifically USA, almost every licensed lawyer is registered on at least one legal services market place.
According to statistics, millions of Americans flock these platforms to find lawyers or get legal help. The most popular legal marketplaces in the US include;
This kind of business idea is very promising but no Ugandan entrepreneur seems to have noticed it yet. If well implemented, a legal services market place can surely work in Uganda.
Over the past few days, I decided to do an extensive study of its business model, how it works and its website or application features.
This article will take you through everything you need to start a legal services marketplace in Uganda, including how to monetize it.
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Business model of a legal services marketplace
Typically, a legal services marketplace entertains two types of audience ie lawyers and clients, and each audience gets difference services.
For clients, these platforms maintain a comprehensive database of lawyers from different legal departments and provide them with information such as practice area, lawyer ratings, client reviews, contact information for individual lawyers and legal firms as well as peer endorsements.This information is aimed at helping clients make the right choice when selecting a lawyer or legal firm to work with.
In most cases, the platforms also maintain a database of question and answers. The questions are answered by professional and well qualified lawyers.
Clients also have access to a premium service, through which they can get legal help from registered lawyers via phone.
Below are some of the services you can offer to lawyers to help them establish a robust practice on your legal services marketplace.
1. Lawyer profiles
Lawyers can use their profiles to showcase their experience, practice and achievements. This is aimed at attracting them more clients.
2. Legal Question and Answer [Q&A]
Provide a forum like section where lawyers can answer clients’ legal questions. Active lawyers who often times answer client questions would earn contributor points that would get their profiles featured on the website. Featured profiles have a potential of getting clients.
3. Professional websites
Offer a subscription based service where lawyers can get custom professional websites of their own, managed by you. The websites are designed based on the lawyer’s design needs and preferences.
4. Onsite promotion
This would be another subscription based service that allows lawyers get featured on several sections of the website.
Website features that a legal services marketplace should have
The platform’s main audience target is of course the clients. And because of this, you must ensure that you highlight your client offers on the home page.
Have a feature where clients can search and filter lawyers based on practice, experience and ratings. Having quick links to instant and lawyer live support is also a good choice.
You could also have a section on your website (below the fold section) to explain how the service works.
In the footer, you can put links to content based pages such as Question and Answer forum, blog, popular topics and for searching lawyers based on their practice, district or region.
Now, let’s see the different services you can offer to clients through your web based legal services marketplace.
Features for clients
- Signup for a client profile
- Lawyer directory
- Lawyer profile
- Question and Answer
- Dashboard for account management
Features for Lawyers
- Signup for a lawyer profile
- Blog for lawyers
- Questions by clients for lawyers
- Dashboard for account management
Monetization strategies for a Legal Services Marketplace
There are several ways to make money from an online lawyer directory and among them are;
- Selling additional products and services
- Pay per lead
- Featured lawyer profiles
Value-added services to make your legal services marketplace more valuable
Now that we have discussed the most essential website features for building a web based online lawyer directory, below are some of the value-added services that can make your website more valuable.
- Legal document creation
- Workplace Legal Packages for corporates
- Lawyer verification and background check
- News section
Focus areas to become successful
- Have complete database for as many lawyers as you can. Lawyer directory will drive traffic and customers on your platform
- Have a live support service and offer quick responses to clients willing to pay for the service.
- Select lawyers wisely. Verify all lawyers to avoid quack profiles
- These online lawyer directories make most of their money from premium or subscription based services. Ensure that you provide best marketing tools to lawyers which would help them grow their business and yours as well.
To all entrepreneurs who could be interested in investing in this type of business, I recommend that you seriously consider the above suggested features.
Most of these features can be considered when developing an online services marketplace for other professionals such as medical services marketplace.
If you would like to get a complete business plan for a web based Legal Services Marketplace, please Contact Me Here.
The plan will cost you $600 or its equivalent in Uganda shillings (UGX). The business plan contains full features, additional insights, mockup designs and all technical details. I’m also available for hire if you would like me to build this project for you!