Boulder Startup Targets Legal Industry Leveraging WebRTC
Frequent visitors to the WebRTC Solutions Community know that one of the things we like to do is look at new/disruptive capabilities that WebRTC is enabling in various vertical markets. In this regard a new entrant as a vertical to be transformed is in legal services. This time, innovation comes courtesy of an Entrepreneurial Class project at Colorado University at Boulder which led to creation of Congo.io which has since changed its name to Lawbooth.
Preparing for formal launch in the next few weeks, the company already has won recognition as the 2014 Venture of the Year by the Boulder Colorado Chamber of Commerce for the way it is poised to change users’ experiences in the legal process. It happens to use WebRTC 2.0 for its video chat functionality.
Making it easier to connect with a lawyer
A bit of context is in order as to why this could be so impactful. It has been estimated that upwards of 80 percent of people in the U.S. do not have access to adequate legal services and that cost in the number one reason. Lawbooth's co-founder William Ogorzaly when asked what inspired him to found the company stated, “The idea came from a super simple question I had straight out of a textbook, ‘what is tort law?’ As a millennial, I pulled out my laptop and headed straight to Google which is where I was accustomed to finding answers.”
Ogorzaly added, “Instead I found dense information buried in poorly designed websites. As I was sitting, connected to my laptop that has Wi-Fi, and a webcam, I thought to myself, ‘why can I not just pay a few bucks to video chat with an attorney? That makes complete sense...’ However, when I Googled that, nobody was doing it, and I immediately committed myself to making it happen.”
Inspiration led to perspiration and the development of the Congo platform. As the company explains, it is based on the idea that connecting with an attorney is scary, especially for first time clients. Congo has taken the intimidation factor out of the equation, enabling users to schedule free appointments with attorneys in less than 60 seconds.
As Ogorzaly says, Congo is creating the first online free market solution for the legal industry, “Think Zocdoc for attorneys. Like other sites of its kind in other verticals, the goal is simple and a win-win for the clients (who pay nothing to use the site) and attorneys who pay a $500 monthly subscription fee. And, the ROI is impressive with Congo saying it reduces the client acquisition cost from the industry average of $1,000+ to less than $75.
Where WebRTC enters the picture, literally and figuratively is that the appointments for chatting with an attorney are done via WebRTC-based video.
A few other benefits cited for the service are:
- Encryption ensures Congo users that their information is safe. No communications between clients and attorneys is stored, and Congo does not in any way violate attorney-client privilege.
- Congo does not practice any price regulation. Attorneys set their own rates and clients pay attorneys directly.
- Congo uses a proprietary algorithm, historical data, and client reviews to triple-vet attorneys before accepting them to our platform.
Congo says that in its first four months of private beta testing it already has dozens of clients that have been connected with attorneys. It adds that its long-term vision is to bring the entire attorney-client relationship online.
It is not surprising that WebRTC is a foundational technology for the service given both its functionality and its ability to make real-time video interactions easy-to-use and with extensive reach thanks to its support. Whether it is in telemedicine, education, real estate, retailing, now legal services, or horizontally for contact centers in general, what WebRTC is proving is that there is no time like real-time and interactive video really makes a difference in providing differentiated and compelling customer experiences.
In short, Congo is a WebRTC startup to keep an eye on.
Edited by Dominick Sorrentino