Growth Capital Ventures (GCV) are supporting the launch and scale of Legal Tech firm, Transparently, which aims to provide a unique solution to digitisation of the UK legal system.
Over the last decade the UK family Courts have been plagued with a troubling backlog of cases.
Figures released by HM Courts & Tribunals Service show the backlog of public and private cases has risen in 2019 to 15,804 and 49,249 respectively, up from 14,845 and 42,622 in 2018.
As cases continue to rise, law firms are now actively seeking service providers that are able to deliver efficiencies and enhanced value-add, to maintain or grow their market share and profits.
G-Labs, Venture Building
In 2019, legal tech and platform as a service provider Transparently began working with GCV to develop their platform concept into a reality.
As part of the venture building process GCV are working closely with the founders Becki Cassia and Steve Stewart on developing their technology through the creation of the platform and converting the build cost into equity.
The G-Labs team (venture building and innovation unit of GCV) have supported the founders from ideation stage through to branding, software engineering of the platform and the business model development.
Transparently was formed with the intention of placing integrity at the heart of all negotiation.
With both co-founders having independently experienced their own divorces, following long term marriages to their respective partners, they found very few facilities available in the uk and certainly no centralised means of communication between all of the parties involved.
Realising that so little help was available to them and having met numerous people who were in the same situation, they decided to develop a service to help others. Both co-founders are passionate about promoting integrity and removing conflict and acrimony wherever possible; particularly to reduce the need for court intervention.
The Reality of Court Systems
Data from the Family Courts shows that the average time taken to complete a divorce with a financial settlement reached a record 34.4 weeks in the fourth quarter of 2019. This represents a jump of almost ten weeks from an average of 24.8 weeks in the same quarter just two years earlier. Whilst choosing to go down the route of utilising the court system is to ensure that a timetable is in place, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic the physical courts have closed, cases are being re-timetabled, hearings adjourned, and guidance circulated urging parties to seek alternative dispute resolution.
Although it is well known that not all cases are capable of being resolved by agreement or without the intervention, using alternative solutions such as Transparently that will support a quicker outcome and less volatile process is now looking like the most attractive route to resolution.
Transparently’s key features include the production of a continuous, un-editable and intelligent chronology of events; a permanent record of all interaction between two or more individuals and most importantly, each of those individuals can be privately and confidentially supported by their own team of experts. As circumstances require, these experts could include lawyers, accountants, mediators, mentors, counsellors and others.
A Journey to Legal Digitisation
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, in an effort to combat the mounting cases in court, enforcement was beginning to be implemented in main by the uk’s courts and tribunals service, who are engaged in a reform programme that will fully digitise the justice system in England and Wales.
Chair of the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Anna Bradley said:
“We think technology could be a real game-changer in the sector – enabling many more people to get the legal help they need.
One of the three high-level objectives in our proposed corporate strategy for 2020-2023 is actively supporting the adoption of legal technology for the benefit for the public, small businesses and legal sector.”
With more civil hearings switching to Zoom and online platforms in an effort to reduce the building backlog, the coronavirus pandemic has already led to significant changes to the court system, some of the impacts could be set to be long-lasting or permanent.
Transparently has already gained huge momentum, with Barclays Ventures’ inviting the company to discuss future access to justice funding opportunities earlier in the year.
As they begin beta testing the software with a city law firm, the company has also gained the support of the Hampshire Police, the Law Society and The National Centre for Domestic Violence.
GCV are now preparing Transparently for launch and scale in 2020, with an EIS Eligible investment round expected to be made available on GCVs online investor platform later in the year.