A Filipino lawyer, who pioneered virtual or e-lawyering in the Philippines, has recently launched a mobile app with video-chat features to link clients and lawyers.
“It is the first of its kind in the Philippines,” says LexMeet Inc. president Marlon Valderama, who is also the managing partner of Valderama Law Office. LexMeet is a wordplay on the Latin word for ‘law’ and workplace verbatim for setting office meetings.
“Lexmeet is an online legal consultation platform where lawyers and clients meet to solve legal problems. It is also a marketplace for legal products and services,” says Valderama, who passed the Bar exam in 2001.
Valderama describes the LexMeet app as the Uber of lawyers, where clients can seek legal advice by a mere click.
“Instead of an Uber vehicle matching with the nearest rider, LexMeet is where client’s legal problem is matched with the lawyer’s expertise, location and language and we serve as a bridge for them to meet via video or call conference,” he says.
He says the mobile app provides a convenient means to access legal services at affordable cost.
“The traditional consultation is costly, while this is affordable. Starting with P500, you will be able to talk to a lawyer. Whereas in the traditional, consultation alone costs P2,000 to P3,000. It is also convenient. You don’t have to leave the comforts of your home. If you have Internet, you could talk to them via video conference or voice call inside LexMeet,” says Valderama.
LexMeet allows clients to register their personal details for free, and they can purchase credits for as low as P500 via Paypal, Dragonpay, Coins.ph and later on Google Pay payment gateways.
Clients can initiate a legal consultation request where LexMeet will match their legal problem with a lawyer specialist that meets their requirements.
Valderama says he launched LexMeet as an expansion of E-Lawyers Online which he introduced in 2010 and to provide other lawyers with online avenues to offer their legal services to more clients.
He says the LexMeet app employs a unique algorithm that helps clients choose the right lawyer for their specific legal problems. Clients are given a list of lawyers who have expertise in different fields. The lawyer’s location and dialect are also shown to clients to guide them in the selection process.
“LexMeet works as a communication platform as well as a matching platform. Clients sign up, register and load credits. After that, they submit their legal problems in advance and they would be able to select the lawyers,” he says.
“LexMeet does not only provide lawyers, but also matches with legal problems so that when a client has a legal problem in his property, he will be matched with a lawyer with specialization in property law,” says Valderama.
“For example, if a client has a problem with a condominium unit and he is a Cebuano, he could get a Cebuano lawyer specializing in property law and speaking in Cebuano,” he says.
The platform allows clients to request the date and time of the online legal consultation with the lawyer. Through LexMeet’s own video chat consultation platform, they could directly ask questions and make clarifications.
“If you want a legal document, you can also get it from LexMeet,” says Valderama, who served as an senior associate lawyer of Florentino & Esmaquel Law Office before establishing his online business.
He says the ultimate plan is to provide full legal services through LexMeet. “If you want to tap full services, you may meet them personally. But later on, we will have a product where all the services will be done inside LexMeet,” says Valderama.
LexMeet now has 7,500 clients and 250 lawyers. “We usually recruit lawyers through friends. It started with my friends, then friends of friends, but we asked them to submit a copy of their IBP ID. Then we check their identification with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to ensure they are duly licensed,” says Valderama.
Valderama says LexMeet also protects clients’ personal and financial information by securing its app and website with Secure Socket Layer or SSL certificate.
LexMeet earns from its share in legal consultations. “Our business model is that we collect from the platform. Every time the client speaks to the lawyer, the lawyer earns, but we also earn per minute basis,” he says.
Clients’ credits are automatically paid to their matched lawyer after the meeting ends. Ratings and feedback mechanism help ensure that LexMeet’s crowdsourced network of 250 lawyers provide quality advice.
Valderama also expects LexMeet to be the online go-to-place for overseas Filipino workers and entrepreneurs.
“The Philippines has more than 10.23 million migrant workers scattered all over the world. With Filipino diaspora, there is a demand for legal services for the legal issues left behind by our migrant workers such as marriage, support and custody issues, inheritance, investments, among others. Also, we have so many SMEs, almost 1 million now, who are needing legal guidance from lawyers. The lack of online facility to help our OFWs and SMEs in solving their legal problems is our prime motivation in establishing a primary hub of e-lawyering, ” says Valderama.
LexMeet was awarded as the ‘Best Life Helper’ in the 2018 Asean Rice Bowl Startup Awards.
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