The QuickLegal online marketplace was launched in 2021 in Romania, aiming to provide answers to legal questions for individuals and small businesses by effortlessly connecting them with relevant lawyers. CEE Legal Matters spoke with two of QuickLegal’s three Co-Founders – Iulia Caizer and Luminita Busuricu – to learn more about their project, progress, and plans.
CEELM: First, tell us a bit about the platform – how would you describe QuickLegal?
Busuricu: QuickLegal is an online marketplace for legal services, connecting individuals and small and medium-sized enterprises with lawyers in Romania. In a nutshell, the way the platform operates is the following: after creating an account and filling out the questionnaire, applicants are instantly matched with the three most suitable lawyers, followed by a 15-minute free consultation with a lawyer of their choice. This gives the users a chance to choose whether they want to continue working with the suggested lawyer or not. What sets us apart is our legal matchmaking algorithm – we are not simply asking questions – we use other filters, such as area of law, lawyer profile, location, years of experience, potential fees to be charged, and more.
Caizer: And the offer that clients receive is not just about a lawyer, but also includes some guidance, like the estimated fees to be charged and a brief proposed solution. We believe that this is an essential tool for SMEs, as this could be either an alternative to the traditional legal departments or a valuable resource for it. We offer a fast, reliable, and cost-effective tool to help SMEs deal with their legal matters.
CEELM: How did you come together to establish QuickLegal?
Busuricu: We are three female co-founders – all lawyers, with international backgrounds, looking to improve the legal market in Romania through innovation. I am a dispute resolution lawyer working for an international law firm established in Bucharest.
Caizer: And I’m an in-house counsel for UiPath, the Romanian unicorn. Bianca Florea, our other Co-Founder, is an antitrust lawyer in Paris.
Busuricu: We all noticed problems in the Romanian legal system and came together in wanting to make a change. We came up with this idea in 2018, at the Global Legal Hackathon, where legal and IT professionals meet to identify problems in the legal field and solve them through tech solutions. We wanted to, on the one hand, give individuals and SMEs easy access to legal information and services and, on the other hand, tackle the lawyers’ difficulties in reaching out to potential clients. Now that legal platforms like QuickLegal are gradually being regulated, both at the EU and national level, we believe it is the perfect time to bring to the market a solution like QuickLegal.
CEELM: What were the specific steps, from an idea to implementation?
Caizer: As all founders are legal professionals, we knew little about being entrepreneurs at first. There were a lot of steps that we took to get to where we are now, and we had to learn everything along the way. First, we had to think about how the project would work and put that into practice, understand the market needs, the product, and how it would change the status quo. We participated in incubator and accelerator programs to improve the product and find new members for the team. We also had to refine our market strategy and update our business plan – learn how to best approach potential investors or increase our market visibility, for example.
Busuricu: We formed the co-founders’ team in 2018 and we launched the platform in 2021. Since then, we’ve consolidated the team, launched our minimum viable product, and participated in various programs, including one of the biggest accelerators in CEE – InnovX-BCR – where we won third place. We’ve marketed the business with the founders’ personal funds, yet we already have over 200 users and 80 lawyers.
CEELM: Which stage of development are you at, right now? And what’s in the pipeline?
Busuricu: We are still testing and developing – I would say that, for now, we have the MVP. In terms of investment, we are pre-seed. We’re looking forward to April, when we’re invited to join the 2023 Silicon Valley Conference and get to pitch our business to US investors – by then the project and our revenues should be in a more advanced phase.
Caizer: We’re also investing in bringing technologies into our platform, to improve customer experience and functionality, and expanding our team. At this point, we are looking for lawyers and business advisors who have experience as legal market entrepreneurs, to learn from their understanding and incorporate it into the business. In the future, we also want to expand the core legal team. But right now, we are more focused on partnerships with law firms and key legal players and on adapting the platform to better address market needs.
Busuricu: To date, we have been focusing on labor law but we’re working with lawyers specializing in every area of the legal field. In the near future, we aim to expand the platform to some Eastern European countries and France. And we’re also working on using the conversations between the client and attorney – anonymized and with the parties’ consent, of course – to launch an AI-powered robo-lawyer. We are also launching our virtual office soon, to bring lawyers and clients together online.
CEELM: That’s quite the pipeline. How are you promoting QuickLegal and building the user base?
Caizer: We’re also developing our marketing strategy, to increase visibility. SMEs, and sometimes even foreign investors, don’t necessarily follow legal news. Rather, they search online and use recommendations to target law firms in Romania. So, we’re looking at paid ads and social media platforms, but also those more traditional ways of spreading the news, such as IT-focused TV programs, to reach a broader audience.
CEELM: And what’s the plan for revenue generation?
Busuricu: Our business model includes subscriptions for lawyers. At this point, all of them are registered for free, but after reaching 150 lawyers we’ll start implementing a subscription model. The same applies to users: after registration, they receive 12 free queries per year. Beyond that, they will have to pay a small subscription fee, covering platform expenses.
Caizer: The market potential is huge. According to our estimates, legal services are a EUR 4 billion business in Romania. With the right investment, we expect to have around EUR 4 to 5 million in revenue in the upcoming five years. An initial investment of EUR 250,000 is needed to launch a fully equipped platform and accelerate our market visibility. We will need further investment rounds, but we are hopeful, since it’s the first stage that is usually the hardest, and we have received excellent feedback so far.
CEELM: You mentioned your focus on labor law. Why did you choose this field?
Caizer: During the pandemic, we saw a high number of employment contracts being terminated, and those people needed advice on how to deal with it. After studying the market, we learned that labor law was the top field, in terms of legal issues, in the past five years. There are around 5.6 million employees and 400,000 SMEs in Romania, so we saw plenty of opportunity in this field.
Busuricu: In addition to the pandemic, following the war in Ukraine, we saw an increased demand for employment lawyers, with many companies relocating from war-affected countries. We received many inquiries about moving businesses to Romania, dealing with taxes and work-related regulations. And we also offered pro-bono legal services to some of these companies from Ukraine, in partnership with local NGOs.
However, we’ve seen increased demand for lawyers specializing in media and GDPR, and we are considering expanding in these areas. We are still conducting surveys on the platform, but the next sectors to target include tax, mortgages, and financial investments. We’re refining our data to respond to market needs.
CEELM: And how was your project received by your colleagues in Romania?
Busuricu: Many of our colleagues have already registered on the platform – they support the idea and have been encouraging us to keep going. It’s good to see QuickLegal resonates with Romanian legal professionals – that’s a good sign looking forward to our next, April 2023, milestone.
Caizer: We all have a personal reasoning for developing this project – we want to democratize the legal market and bring more transparency – so it was great to have my co-workers’ support. Law is mostly an old-school profession in Romania: it has to adapt to societal needs and current technology. It will take time to see that change at a broader level, but we’re confident we’ll reach that stage sooner than most expect.