Company: Virtual Legal Pty Ltd, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Company Description: Virtual Legal was founded in 2013 by Katie Richards, a commercial lawyer, innovator and disruptor. Virtual Legal is an online law firm specialising in fixed-fee property, commercial and estate planning transactions and small business packages. We save clients time, money and stress through the online platform and app for access services from wherever our clients are.
Nomination Category: Company/Organization Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Startup of the Year - Consumer Services Industries
Nomination Title: Virtual Legal
Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated organization since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words). Begin this section with the date since July 1 2013 on which this organization began operations:
Virtual Legal is an online law firm causing significant disruption to the legal industry in an effort to ensure all Australians have access to legal services regardless of where they live or what they earn. Effectively, the company is known for running everyday legal transactions such as conveyancing, leasing, business/franchise purchases and sales, wills and estate planning, drafting business contracts and providing start-up packages.
Since 1 July 2014, Virtual Legal has done the following:
(a) Attracted over 12,000 followers on social media between LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+
(b) Increased revenue from $120,790 (FYE 30/6/14) to $365,529 (FYE 30/6/15)
(c) Built a team of 3 people in the Philippines to manage all day to day administrative work and back end legal documentation.
(d) Created fixed fee pricing packages for all services offered and put all of these on the website for complete transparency with clients.
(e) Created a brand new website which is ‘green-brained’ for emotional buying cognition.
(f) Gave a lecture to QLD Lawyers at Legalwise Seminar in November 2014 on how to use online technologies to go Virtual and tips for managing cyber risk.
(g) Started providing clients with use of the Conveyance Genius App which provides a live feed of the transaction and gives clients risk due date reminders directly to their phone app, and keeps all stakeholders on the same page.
(h) Started negotiating with a publicly listed mortgage broking company to provide a white label back-end conveyancing product to convey 250-1000 properties a week and then also provide all of those clients with wills and estate planning packages.
(i) Agreed with Retail Food Group to take on legal work for new franchisees of their 14 franchise brands which could be 500-1000 transactions a year across Australia.
(j) Commenced discussions with a public listed superannuation fund to offer their 1,100,000 clients estate planning packages.
(k) Relocated the office to a 150sqm premises in Albion to accommodate significant growth.
(l) Prepared an operations manual documenting all procedures in the company in every role so that the entire company can be run without any particular individual being there, which reduces risk and increases value, plus allows the operations to be replicated into a franchise model.
(m) Created training guides, checklists and videos on every legal transaction we do.
(n) Recorded 53 videos for educating the public on different legal matters and one as a promotional video about why we are and how we are going about achieving our vision.
(o) Won the National Edupreneur Award 2015 and made Finalist for Telstra Start Up of the Year 2015
(p) Currently Finalist for Professional and Entrepreneurial categories for Women in Technology Awards 2015 and also Finalist for Telstra Businesswoman of the Year 2015 (awaiting final announcements on all 3).
(q) Have been in the Sydney Morning Herald, Brisbane Business News and provided did an hour long conference for all QLD Lawyers on technology for law firms in the virtual space.
The next 12 months will see our practice roll out in Northern Territory and South Australia, and we will be looking to introduce gamification into the transaction process to make education and staff targets fun. We are also preparing to launch in New Zealand in January 2016.
Provide a brief biography of the person or persons who lead the nominated company (up to 125 words):
Entrepreneur, Lawyer, Educator, Author and Innovator. Katie is a commercial solicitor passionate about systematisation and efficiency. As previous commercial legal advisor to Domino's Pizza, National Australia Bank, GE Mining and Ecowash Mobile both in Australia and in the USA, Europe and Middle East, Katie's experience spans a variety of matters. Her ability to identify issues and opportunities, strategize a cost-considered and risk-mitigated approach and execute has been finely tuned.
As a strong advocate for the provision of access to legal services Australia-wide regardless of financial position or geographical location, Katie set about the establishment of Virtual Legal, driving a high-energy team of lawyers to provide standard legal services through an online platform allowing clients to have legal work done without leaving their home or office.
Choose one (even if both apply):
The CEO (or other principal manager) of this company is a woman, and at least 40% of the management team is comprised of women.