One of the US’s biggest legal brands has confirmed it will enter the UK market from next month.
Rocket Lawyer, which offers a do-it-yourself online template as well as referrals to a 25-firm panel, will go live from the end of November after a digital marketing campaign. It is the second US online legal shop to come to the UK, following rival LegalZoom’s announcement last month of a tie-up with QualitySolicitors.
Mark Edwards (pictured), corporate vice-president of Rocket Lawyer UK, said the intention is to replicate the company's US market share in the UK.
Online documents offer individuals and small businesses a fixed-fee service in family law, wills, probate, property issues, employment and corporate law.
Clients whose enquiry is too complicated – or who want extra reassurance – are referred to panel firms chosen from across England and Wales. Edwards said 10 firms – most already operating a fixed-fee service – have been selected for the panel, with talks ongoing with more than a dozen others.
They will not pay a fee for the referral, but will be expected to give a free 30-minute consultation and offer a 33% discount to clients who have come to them from Rocket Lawyer. The firms will keep their own name.
‘We’re unlocking the bottom end of the market that’s not currently being served,’ said Edwards. ‘A lot of the population is used to getting a lower-cost option if they do it themselves – if [law firms] are overcharging for something quite simple I expect we will take business away from them. There are a lot of people out there not legally protected – two-thirds don’t have a will – and that’s our target market.’
Edwards, a business development manager at LexisNexis before joining Rocket Lawyer, expects most customers will opt to pay an annual fee for the service, with the most basic package starting at ‘tens of pounds’.
Most marketing has come through emails and paid-for promotion on online search engines, but next year will see a ‘more visible’ advertising campaign.
In the US, Rocket Lawyer has three million visitors to its site every month, leading to hundreds of thousands of documents being completed. The company was launched five years ago in San Francisco by former corporate lawyer Charley Moore.