INTERVIEW (Israel Aye, Founder, MyLaw.ng)
Technology and the Democratization of Access to Professional Legal Services-The mylaw.ng exampleThe Fidelity SME Forum is a weekly radio programme organized by Fidelity Bank Plc to educate, inform, advise and inspire budding entrepreneurs in Nigeria with knowledge and expertise that will enable them build sustainable and successful businesses. The interactive radio programme features subject matter experts and model entrepreneurs as guests on a weekly basis to share their insight and unique success stories. In this interview, Israel Aye, Founder, MyLaw.ng gives valuable insights on “Technology and the Democratization of Access to Professional Legal Services-The mylaw.ng example”.
Q: BRIEFLY TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF?
Israel: My name is Israel Aye. I would describe myself as a father, husband, lawyer, entrepreneur and a development enthusiast. I have experience post-call, with about twenty (20) years of that time spent in the oil and gas space. But recently, I am pivoting towards the delivery of legal services on the digital platform.
Q: WHAT IS MYLAW.NG ALL ABOUT?
Israel: Mylaw.ng is essentially what we refer to as a web app. It’s a portal for the delivery of legal services. Also, on the website (mylaw.ng) you are able to generate documents like standard agreements; book an appointment to speak with a lawyer; and request the services of a lawyer in a legal emergency state.
Q: WHY THE NEED TO TRANSITION FROM A TRADITIONAL LAW FIRM INTO THE DIGITAL SPACE?
Israel: I have been a lawyer for twenty five (25) years and I have been fairly successful as a lawyer. I have come to discover that the traditional method of delivering legal services was no longer serving the need of the twenty first century in Nigeria. Also it has become too expensive and too inaccessible, and so people who need the services of a lawyer are not getting these services. For example, approximately 5000 lawyers were called to bar in Aug/Sept 2018, and most of them will be searching for jobs in traditional law firms and I am pretty sure that these traditional law firms cannot employ up to 1000 nationwide. For a country that wants to grow in all sectors, mylaw.ng is developed to create the platform for people to request for lawyers’ services.
Q: WHAT DO I EXPECT WHEN I LOG-ON TO MYLAW.NG?
Israel: Firstly, you will get access to legal services from the comfort of any device. Also, traditional means of procuring legal services makes an individual pay for services they don’t need but on mylaw.ng you request and pay exactly what you need.
Q: WHAT CAN MYLAW OFFER AN SME ENTREPRENEUR?
Actually, SMEs are part of our catchment and what we seek to do is to facilitate easy access to justice for individuals and access to legal services for SMEs, like idea protection, relationship protection and contract protection to make for a more prosperous society, and all these legal services are extremely affordable.
Q: HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE SMEs FOR REGISTRATION OF PATENT OR INCORPORATION SUPPORT?
Israel: Currently, we help SMEs register their patent for about thirty thousand naira (#30,000). For incorporation support with one million shares, we charge between thirty to fifty thousand naira (#30,000 – #50,000).
Q: HOW DO YOU MAKE MONEY ON MYLAW.NG?
Israel: Our model, particularly with respect to our offering to SMEs, reveals our intention to grow skill and we hope that ultimately we get a good return with skill development.
Q: HOW CAN MYLAW.NG HELP WITH REDUCING OR MITIGATING FRAUDULENT ISSUES IN OUR SOCIETY?
Israel: The issue of fraud is conversant with different societies. Business is conducted largely in two circles. The first is the circle of trust and this has to do with places of worship, societies, associations etc. The second is the circle of contract. Majority perform most of their transaction on the circle of trust which has a little recovery mechanism. With mylaw.com we are modernizing the legal sector.
Q: HOW CAN MYLAW.NG HELP SMEs SETTLE A DISPUTE CASE WITH A THIRD PARTY?
Israel: Law is structured to fix the rule of might in any modern society. Most times legal protection has nothing to with the court (final arbiters). There are different mechanisms that are put in place to settle dispute between individuals. Lawyers help you get a full view of the risk profile and how to protect yourself, including going to court.
Q: HOW HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO BUILD TRUST ON MYLAW.NG?
Israel: Mylaw.ng is a digital legal service provider, but the primary legal service provider on the mylaw.ng platform is an entity called Legex Partners and their physical address is placed on the website to build trust. You can also google about me and my team members.
Q: WHAT IS THE CONCEPT BEHIND THE VIRTUAL LAW FIRM?
Israel: The virtual law firm is an actual law firm that operates virtually. We don’t necessarily meet our client and we provide our services on mylaw.ng using all the digital channels that are available. But to support that we have partner law firms, panel of law firms and lawyers etc. and we just launched the Legex emergency response unit.
Q: IS THE EMERGENCY RESPONSE A 24 HOURS SERVICE?
Israel: Currently it is about twelve (12) hours and we are working on making it a twenty-four-hour service.
Q: HOW CAN SMEs BE PROTECTED FROM HARASSMENT FROM OFFICIAL AND UNOFFICIAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENTS?
Israel: All these comes down to access and affordability. SMEs can get a monthly subscription for as low as twenty-five thousand Naira (#25,000) and it allows for professional legal consultation, advice and encouragement and our position essentially is that everybody deserves a lawyer.
Q: HOW CAN PEOPLE CONTACT YOU?
Israel: You can contact Taiwo: 08067475127 and visit www.mylaw.ng
Q: HOW DO YOU TREAT THE CASE OF AN INDIVIDUAL WHO PAID INSURANCE PREMIUM OVERTIME AND NOW THE INSURANCE COMPANY IS REFUSING TO HONOUR THE PERSON’S CLAIMS?
Israel: We handle this kind of cases. If the person is a subscriber to mylaw.ng either for the personal or corporate plan we would be able to look at the policy document, review it and write letters on your behalf and if necessary we will be able to institute legal actions on the person’s behalf if we believe that the term of that contract is not being kept.
Q: HOW CAN MYLAW.NG HELP SMEs ON WILL GENERATION?
Israel: Will has been standardized and commoditized in many other markets and on mylaw.ng you can generate your will online and you can also get a lawyer for professional input.
Q: FROM A LEGAL PERSPECTIVE WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE SMEs?
Israel: SMEs are the engines for economic development in any economy or society. We have about 50 million SMEs but unfortunately many of them don’t augment above the SMEs level because they don’t have the ability to scale up. It is impossible for any business to be able to protect itself or scale up without legal advice and mylaw.ng has come in place to protect SMEs and help SMEs to scale up to the next level and at mylaw.ng everyone deserves a lawyer.