Finding an attorney to represent you in court can sometimes be hectic and costly, particularly among small business owners, where many cannot afford legal services. An estimated 80 percent of small businesses in Africa cannot afford a lawyer.
To break the barrier, a group of Zimbabwean entrepreneurs have created online legal services that allow you to get instant legal assistance from dozens of lawyers at a reduced rate through low cost add-on legal protection insurance products which are delivered and marketed through established insurance companies. LawBasket provides a new way of financing and delivering legal value to small businesses in Africa.
LawBasket also works with co-working spaces, tech accelerators and hubs across Africa to deliver free in-person and online law clinics using a network of lawyers who deliver practical legal content to help startups grow, it says on its website. Through its lawyer-on-demand platform, LawBasket also enables small businesses and startups to hire lawyers at a predictable price when they need them.
The company was founded in December 2018 by a group of entrepreneurs who had previously run Lexware Inc, a local tech company. The founding team has two lawyers, each with four years of experience in top Zimbabwean law firms, a finance person and a software engineer.
“LawBasket presents a credible alternative to traditional law firms, providing solutions to getting legal help for the ever-increasing crusade of small businesses and start-ups in Africa,” co-founder Nyasha Makamba told NewsDay. “Through LawBasket payments, the company also declutters the process of creating and managing bills for lawyers, as well as provide a simple portal to process multi-jurisdictional payments for legal services.”
Although LawBasket originally started in Zimbabwe, it is also available in 15 other African countries. In fact, the majority of the lawyers on the platform are from Nigeria, a development Makamba finds exciting. On its websites, LawBasket says its lawyers have expertise in areas like intellectual property, motor vehicle accidents and real estate.
“What we are doing is to create a virtual law firm which anyone can access from anywhere in the world through one platform,” the founders told Tech In Africa. “It’s a business that is exciting to scale, and our journey so far has shown that we can scale the business.”
The growth of the company has been organic, Makamba said in a 2019 interview, adding that they were exploring the option of further expanding their footprint though they would need some funding. “We have been talking to organizations across Africa and in the US, and we are confident that we will raise the funding we need to this on a larger and profitable scale,” Makamba told Tech In Africa.