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Fri 26 May 2017 10:15 AM

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Support Legal, changing the way the UAE looks at lawyers

Think of Spotify or Netflix but for legal services; aims to change the legal landscape for entrepreneurs

Support Legal, changing the way the UAE looks at lawyers

Support Legal, a new legal services platform, is aiming to change the legal landscape forever for entrepreneurs and emerging companies across the UAE, GCC and beyond.

Support Legal’s innovative concept is the start of a new chapter for the sector in the region. The offering, customised to deliver top tier legal advice efficiently and cost-effectively, does away with the traditional billable hour model entirely. It is the first platform which operates solely on fixed fees; clients can choose their subscription model (agreeing a scope of work and then paying an agreed monthly fee for unlimited service) or a one-off fee for a defined project. Having also adopted new working methods and technologies, Support Legal is able to offer substantially lower fees than competitors, combining cost-effectiveness with cost certainty – invaluable for the region’s growing businesses.

Traditionally, lawyers have charged clients by the hour and this has been the case for decades, driving inefficiency in delivery and high fees.  With the onset of new technology and an increase in demand for alternative charging structures, the market dynamics are beginning to shift and much needed disruption is being seen around the globe. As the first provider in the region to take this disruptive leap, Support Legal is able to meet the needs of the fast growing community of entrepreneurs, start-ups and small and medium sized businesses in the UAE.

Support Legal’s co-founding team (Zoë Blakemore, Lee McMahon and Patrick Rogers) have each worked in the region for almost a decade, both in top tier international law firms and challenging in-house roles. This has given them real insight into the needs of businesses operating in, from and into the region. Their collective legal experience internationally has driven them to join the growing band of lawyers around the world challenging the way legal services are delivered.

“We offer smart support and advice from seasoned lawyers at the lightning speed required for new businesses. And our focus isn’t just about how you operate here. We want to help local businesses become international businesses.” said Patrick Rogers. “With the benefit of thousands of international business transactions behind us, and as entrepreneurs ourselves, we can truly partner with you from Day One to drive your ambitions forward.”

Patrick also observed “Whilst Support Legal can provide support across a wide range of corporate, commercial and finance matters, we also specialise, and have a depth of experience, in venture capital issues - key for the region's innovative and growing businesses.”

“To deliver law differently, we took a long hard look at the traditional model and at the ways others around the world have started to disrupt the sector. Doing away with the layers of trainee and junior lawyers who contribute to the high fees of traditional firms, we work with only the most experienced. All of our team have at least 10,000 hours’ experience so the advice you receive is on point first time and every time. You never pay for someone to learn on the job.” said Zoë Blakemore. “And we allow our team to work flexibly, matching their availability to client needs; no more unhappy lawyers chained to their desk at midnight grinding out another billable hour fee for the client.”

“The legal world has been slow to adopt technology as a way to streamline its operations and to enhance the delivery of its services. We knew we had to be different.” said Lee McMahon. “From the outset we have built our model around best in class technology and new working methods. In the early stages, we have concentrated on efficiency in our operations to minimize overheads, passing those savings to our clients. We are continuing to invest in technology and, before the end of 2017, will launch a product for clients here which has never been deployed in the region before. Watch this space!”

"It's comforting knowing that we have lawyers on call who are not only experts in their craft but who also do not charge us in six minute increments like a traditional firm would. By de-linking time from their service, Support Legal are revolutionizing the practice of law in the region. The team's focus on value creation not billable hours, allows our company to engage with its lawyers as true business partners. We used to wait to engage our legal counsel until the last possible moment to save on costs. Now, for any matter of importance, a call to the Support Legal team is one of the first we make". Yunib Siddiqui, CEO of Jones the Grocer

"As we set out to deploy capital into the MENA region start-up ecosystem, we know we need trusted legal advisors we can rely on to be long term partners in our business without compromising on quality of advice. Support Legal fits that mould to a tee. The founders have set out to create something truly unique. It is great to see lawyers trying something different and seeking to service the specific needs of entrepreneurs and emerging companies; these are the type of clients that will have the most meaningful impact on the growth of economies around the Middle East and Africa".  Mohamad Ballout, Founder and CEO of Ripples Capital

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