Accessing affordable legal advice and information in South Africa is a challenge for most people - but these two founders plan on changing all that. Law firm lawyer.
Started by two women entrepreneurs Sinal Govender and Claire Keet Pollock, their new online platform is a portal to a range of "affordable legal products and services - offering legal education through what law firms would consider unconventional channels such as WhatsApp".
Personal experiences and inside observations left these two co-founders disappointed with South Africa's legal system - enough to drive them both to do something about it independently.
Claire and Sinal launched on the first day of South Africa's national lockdown. In fact, has never lived a life outside lockdown! For that reason, they say the business has not yet had an official 'launch event' and the team aren't sure when they will be able to.
When they met, Claire was designing a web app to help people navigate the legal aspects of death; Sinal was running a consultancy focused on cost-effective legal advice. They realized that they were trying to solve the same problem - access to the law - and so they launched pop.law.
Their legal consultations are all done digitally or over the leverages digital technology to provide 'face-to-face' and personalized legal counsel without the high overheads of a brick and mortar law firm. They meet everyday people where they are, providing legal education and resources on what law firms would consider more 'unconventional' touch points - like Zoom, Instagram TV, social media and WhatsApp!"
“I moved away from “Big Law” and all things related to it, especially the billable hour, to focus on meaningful engagement with clients. In between being a lawyer, writer, and speaker, I spend my time eating avo toast and standing up for others: millennials, entrepreneurs, any underdog and especially the furry kind,” says Sinal.
“I’ve designed and run a few businesses across a weird and wonderful range of industries. The common thread weaving my career together is the use of design as a powerful tool to solve problems for people. In between startups, I’m usually thinking of my next one or learning from other people about theirs,” says Claire.
In terms of aspirations for the new product or service at pop.law, Claire and Sinal want their products and services to positively change the way that everyday people perceive lawyers and the experience of getting legal help.
They want their affordable, accessible products and services to break down the barriers that usually prohibit access to legal help.
When everyday South Africans have legal questions and problems, they want - and deserve - affordable, empowering and personal legal help. However, access to individual legal help is gate kept by affordability and accessibility.
These factors drive people to self-navigate free online resources or use automated, ‘hands-off’ services without any proper guidance from a qualified lawyer.
Walking into a law firm feels intimidating and expensive and is therefore avoided. is different (and better!) because it combines 'New Law' technology with the individual counsel of 'Big Law'. Leveraging technology allows the team at to drive costs down, which in turn allows the team to offer one-on-one legal help otherwise inaccessible to everyday South Africans.
Because is neither 'New Law' nor 'Big Law', but yet combines the best parts of both, the team have freely redefined what it looks like to 'speak to a lawyer', keeping everyday people, their budgets and their needs central to that experience.
Their goal is to democratize the law. All of pop.law’s legal products and services are offered through digital platforms and can be found at www.poplaw.co.za.