As a legal services marketplace and a digital platform, Enloya aims to connect businesses and lawyers, responding to their needs of legal representation and finding clients respectively.
Watch Manuel Sanchez, Founder and CEO of Enloya, presenting the platform to the Legal Tech Society members during a live webinar.
Below is the transcript of the presentation and the screencast.
“Today, I would like to present Enloya as a digital platform.
Nowadays, we use digital platforms every day. We know about LinkedIn, we know about Facebook…We know that these platforms, each one of them, follows a different goal, and what we’re trying to do at Enloya is to bring the same type of business model and business concept to the legal profession.
Let me start with just laying out the agenda for this presentation.
I will cover four topics.
The first one is why Enloya – the legal services marketplace – exists, what is the background, and basically what are the pain points that we’re trying to solve, how we’re trying to solve, and how we’re trying to enhance the dynamics in the legal sector.
The second point is the state of play of the legal industry as we see it.
The third point is an introduction of platforms as a business model, that in my point of view represents a change of paradigm for the legal industry.
And the fourth point is the Enloya platform itself and what the project is all about.
1. Legal services marketplace origins
So why Enloya? The origins of Enloya are humble. Back in 2015, my best friend and I started talking about creating a platform through which we could sell services online, irrespective of where you’re located, in Africa, Latin America or Europe, and through which, nevertheless, you could reach a global audience. We came about this idea because we have faced difficulties in consolidating a career as international lawyers. Now we have been successful in achieving that goal of consolidation but it took a lot of effort, and I think we can make it better for people who are going through the same difficulties.
We studied law in Mexico (I’m originally from Mexico). When you study law, you basically study the law of the country where you’re going to be based in the end. When you graduate, you don’t have to travel abroad to find a job and to do what you love. But in the case of international lawyers, we, unless you’re based in one of these hubs where international or regional organizations are based, in Washington DC or Geneva or Brussels, then you pretty much have to go abroad to work and develop a successful legal career. You have to become an expat, and as an expat, you have to face permit issues, you have to face short-term contracts… It’s always been in the back of our minds, as we, Mexicans, are not Europeans or Americans, we don’t belong to the first world, so we said, “Let’s find a long-term solution to that.” We started thinking about creating a platform through which we can sell our services online, we thought it for ourselves first and we started escalating to make it more general for other lawyers.
So what is Enloya’s value proposition?
An effective platform is disrupting the industry in a good way because it makes the delivery of services exponentially faster and reduces the prices of whatever you’re selling, in this case, legal solutions by up to 3x according to our research.
The second value proposition is that on the other side, for the vendors, or in this case – the lawyers, we facilitate lawyers’ customer acquisition, so a win-win for everyone.
And thirdly, today we are a legal services marketplace, we connect businesses with lawyers but our vision is to become a one-stop-shop for everything legal, and when I say “shop”, I mean literally that. Today, we interact through LinkedIn where we can create good contacts and good networks, but one cannot do business there. However, what we want is to create something similar to what LinkedIn has but also add the marketplace component and make it specific for the legal profession.
2. What is the state of the legal play today?
The legal industry is divided by different groups. I might be missing other groups but these are the more obvious ones.
First, there are typical law firms and consulting firms. Baker McKenzie is perhaps one of the most popular law firms in terms of branding, and then you have Stripe Atlas, they’re not a law firm, they’re a consulting firm, nevertheless, they provide legal services.
The other three groups are types of companies that have been rising since the last 10 years.
There are companies like Lexoo, Axiom, LinkiLaw or PWC Flex services that manage legal services. The way it works is that if a business has a legal problem, they submit the problem to the platform and then they manage the matching manually between the business, the project, and the lawyers or the team of lawyers, so they conform the lawyers (the team of lawyers) who will handle a specific matter on a case-by-case basis. I think that’s a pretty successful business model but in our case, we think that it’s not highly scalable. In the end, you have ultimately something very similar to a law firm, however, if you want to scale it like Lexoo or Linkilaw or Axiom or PWC Flex, you have to get your hands dirty, you cannot scale automatically because you manage the interaction between the two sides.
And then you have the legal tech companies. In one of the biggest ones that I know, Law Geeks, which is based in Israel, they’re creating an artificial intelligence-based contracts’ analysis software and they’re pretty successful.
In Geneva, Switzerland, we have a company called Legartis which is also successful.
And I think that we will see more and more of this type of legal tech companies in the future that, to some extent, will disrupt the legal profession in, I would say, a positive way but it could also have negative implications, that’s something that I guess we should be aware of.
Then we have the platform-based companies. The biggest one in the entire world is Avvo which is a country-specific platform in the United States. Initially, it was a directory of lawyers. Now, similar to Lexoo and Axiom, you can submit your project, and they will do the matching between a legal project and a team of lawyers.
And then you have other country-specific platforms, like elAbogado, which is based in Spain. Then you have a global platform UpCounsel. I heard that it was inactive and that it was supposedly bought by LinkedIn. I really don’t know what the status of this project is. If you go to their website, they seem to be working very similarly to the group of managed services companies, so I think the tendency of platforms is to follow this approach – the managed services outsourcing model.
And so how Enloya fits into this equation?
Well, Enloya is really a meta-platform.
As a legal services marketplace, what we’re trying to do is to bring all of these guys together into one platform, so that they could customize their legal solutions or legal packages. That’s ultimately what we’re trying to do – to connect businesses with legal solutions, irrespective of whether they come in the form of a legal service provided by a lawyer or by a legal technology company. In principle, the above-mentioned companies would have an incentive to come to Enloya to create a profile and to find business, so Enloya is a meta platform for lead generation for the legal industry.
3. The digital platform business
Platform-based business model is a change of paradigm in the legal industry. Today, the way the business is done is: you have the lawyer on one side, you have the client on the other side, and the value is created by the lawyer by producing a legal service and delivering it in a successful and high-quality way. If you’re a lawyer, this is your model, and I think this will continue to be the case for all the players of the legal sector, even without a digital platform, like Enloya, in parallel. So, if you’re a lawyer, you will continue building value, as a company following this pipeline-based model.
But the platform we represent is about partnerships. The way it works is that we do not create value by delivering a service itself but by connecting sides, so on one side you have the buyers and on the other side you have the sellers of a good or service, and so the value comes in the form of interactions. The better and the more interactions you can orchestrate or you make and the more value these interactions have – the more value overall the platform will have. And it’s really a win-win for everyone because the buyers and the sellers will be able to reduce their cost, they will be able to connect with each other easier than ever before and interact in a free way, as opposed to someone managing how they sell or the pricing that they have.
Platform Revolution book by Jeff Parker and others speaks of a paradigm shift.
First of all, because we move from a consumption-driven model to an outcome- and participation-driven model. What this means that the consumer gets value from a platform not as a result of consuming a particular good or service but from how valuable the interactions that occur through the platform are. The better experience you can deliver as a platform, the more valuable your platform is going to be.
Secondly, we move from a resource-based system to an ecosystems-based system. Today you have limited resources: you have the capital and the labor. You manage these resources and you create something that ultimately is delivered to a client. And that’s how you create value – by producing something based on material resources or intellectual resources.
Whereas if you follow a platform-model approach, what you have to do in order to succeed is to create ecosystems, so you start realizing how the users of the platform are behaving, and you can see which services or which pages are being visited the most, which services are being purchased the most, and then you start collecting that data, raw data from the users, and then you as a platform have to draw inferences from that data and try to see where the value of your platform is. What you have to do is really to create an ecosystem and to try to orchestrate it in a way that everyone obtains value from participating in this platform.
And thirdly, we move from managing internal process model to managing external interactions model. It relates a little bit to the previous point. In a law firm, you have your structure, the hierarchy, there is also a human between the lawyers and then you have the HR and all types of professionals working for a legal firm or a legal consulting company. So, the way you manage a company is by managing those internal resources.
But when you follow a pattern of a platform model, you are orchestrating internal interactions that do not occur inside of your company.
4. Enloya – the digital platform for lawyers and beyond
With that said, what is Enloya’s approach?
In the present, we are following a platform-based approach: we connect businesses with lawyers today. Lawyers, instead of selling themselves, can customize packages that they can sell for a fixed fee and that each one of these packages represents a legal solution, so we ultimately connect businesses with legal solutions, and the vendors, in this case, are the lawyers.
In the future, though, we want to be, as I said, a one-stop-shop for everything legal. And what that means is that we think we can connect a lot of sides, any side in the legal sector, we want to move towards connecting lawyers with lawyers, so that they can interact with each other, create value between themselves, and create teams on a case-by-case basis.
We also want to connect legal technology companies with lawyers, so that they can find clients much easier. I think that one of the problems that we have seen from legal tech companies is that they create incredible technology but then it’s hard for them to find clients: on one side, they fear disruption, and on the other side, some of these legal tech companies are not led by a lawyer, so the network of lawyers at their disposal is low. Why not post your product through a platform like Enloya where everyone is a lawyer?
And then we also see the participation of other professionals in the legal industry. To file a patent, for example, you need a lawyer but then you also need a technical person, an accountant for tax purposes, a biologist or a chemist, an engineer that can draft the technical statement that’s submitted to the patent office that describes the patent where you’re trying to patent. We also want to be a platform for those other professionals who somehow want to be connected to the legal industry, so that lawyers can team up with them.
We’re going to have a lot of lawyers, you will be able to see, to some extent, their performance because the performance will be reviewed by the clients.
Then you will have the recruiters as well that they could come and verify not only your credentials, your CV but how you actually perform and, of course, investors. I think in the legal tech sector, we also want to somehow help businesses to find an interaction with investors, especially the legal tech businesses, so that they can interact with investors.
What makes Enloya unique compared to other platforms?
As I said, there are other platforms in the ecosystem today but what makes Enloya unique?
The first characteristic is that since day one we have been wanting to be and we are driven by this principle that we want to become a global platform. I guess if you’re in the US, which is the biggest market in the world for legal services, there’s an incentive to keep it “small” and just focus on that country but as an internationalist, I don’t see any other thing than to create a platform of global scale, even if it takes a little bit of time to reach some traction.
And the second characteristic that makes us unique is the word “data-driven”.
Like LinkedIn, we aim at becoming a data-driven platform that digitizes and orchestrates the legal industry and their interactions occur within the industry. As a company, we were faced with challenges, as any company that handles data will face challenges of data privacy, and we can talk about that of course.
And then the third point is our focus is on legal solutions.
As I said, today we connect businesses with lawyers but ultimately what we care about is what you can do, so how can you transform your skills as a lawyer into a legal solution.
If you go to the platform, once you visit the profile of a lawyer then you’ll see that each lawyer has packages listed in its profile and each one of these packages represents a legal solution. When you’re searching for something, you will be searching for the legal solution, and people appearing in the search results will be the legal solutions, irrespective of the lawyer that created it.
The fourth characteristic is that we’re bringing the gig-economy model.
For those who are not familiar with the concept of gig economy, look at the most representative platform, in my view, of the gig economy – it is called Fiverr.
This is funny because my friend and I, the guy with whom I started creating this project, we were selling our services through Fiverr to test the idea of selling services online and it took a little bit of time to get our first clients but it actually worked. And we did this through Fiverr and we thought that it was amazing, powerful business concept, so we wanted to bring that.
The gig economy model means that everything that you purchase through the platform is sold for a fixed fee and you also know what you’re going to get at the end.
And then the fifth point is that we allow direct interaction between the businesses and the lawyers, the clients and the vendors, opposite to what platforms are doing today. Lexoo, Axiom, and Linkilaw manage the interaction: you submit a project to them and they manage, they create the legal team that will handle your project on a case-by-case basis, and they negotiate perhaps some of the terms of the transaction. We don’t do that, we will allow direct interaction between the businesses and the vendors.
What is the status of Enloya’s platform?
We have a private beta which is accessible only to the lawyers who have applied and to selected people but we plan to launch very soon at the end of this year, we are currently pre-launching. As of today (August 26th, 2020), we already have 66 vetted lawyers from 18 countries and representing 19 jurisdictions.
(The numbers are changing rapidly)
We’re also focusing on building our brand recognition. We have faced the so-called chicken and egg problem while bringing lawyers into the platform: lawyers are uncomfortable with the idea of being reviewed online, even though if you go to Avvo you will see a bunch of lawyers who have no problem being reviewed online but here in Europe we have seen that lawyers are afraid of being open with online.
I think this is the way it’s been for centuries that lawyers are conservative, we are the conservative industry, we feel uncomfortable – and I put myself in that box as well – we feel uncomfortable being reviewed publicly, but I think to make the industry better we have to lose the fear and we have to just enter the future. The future is based on transparency and the more transparent you are, the better and more authentic you’re going to be.
We are supported by Innosuisse – Switzerland’s innovation agency, we’re backed by coaches and people who are smart, who are committed to help us, and hopefully, these guys will help us to have a very successful launch at the end of the year.
How can you get involved with Enloya?
If you’re a lawyer or law firm, I invite you to join the platform at www.enloya.com. We will review your credentials, we need to make sure that you are a lawyer, you will have to provide your license number etc. Once we verify that you’re a lawyer in your country or that you are eligible to provide legal services (because they understand that some countries have a different concept of what people understand as “lawyers” because in some countries you have the difference between lawyers and advisors. If you have a legal license and you’re eligible to provide legal services – that’s all it matters.
If you’re a legal tech company that has created a cool product and it’s struggling to find clients – submit your product as well to www.enloya.com.
If you are a business person, you can collaborate with us. We’re looking for partners, for brand ambassadors, we are very open to that and we would be super honored if you would want to collaborate with us.
And lastly, please do follow us on social media, especially LinkedIn, to keep updated with our project. We constantly put some social media content there, so you can keep track of who we are, what we’re doing, the type of vision that we have, about the future of the legal industry as well.
Thank you for your interest. I think, this pretty much concludes my presentation and if you have any questions or comments, please write them in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to answer them.”
Manuel Sanchez is a lawyer and an entrepreneur, and a specialist in digital platforms. He’s currently working on his PhD project at the Graduate Institute in Geneva on the law of evidence in WTO dispute settlement. As a lawyer, he’s a litigator specializing in international trade law and policy and he has also worked for the WTO secretariat in Geneva, and the government of Mexico City.
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