LawyersOfIndia.com was started for the sole reason that it was almost impossible to search and find a specialized Lawyer by way of referrals. Nor was there was means for the young Lawyers to be visible to the public in their initial years of practice.We are publishing the interview of Mohit Nayar, Founder of Lawyersofindia.com.
We did a lot of research before actually starting to build the platform. We talked to a lot of Lawyers to know the problems they face.
There were basically two problems that we were trying to solve:
- Help the public find a specialist Lawyer.
- Help the Lawyers in having a virtual presence without having to invest in a website.
Our concept was to help the public use various filters to narrow down their searches. Certain filters like Gender and Language Proficiency was introduced by us for the first time and then several other websites followed it. In the one month of research we did not come across a single website that could do what we were planning to do with Lawyersofindia.com
We had a simple and No-Nonsense approach. We made the website a kind of search engine to find Lawyers. We wanted to make a platform that doesn’t make the users go to 5 different pages before actually giving them results. Till today, we haven’t seen one website that can give so many details about a lawyer so easily. They either ask you to pay or to register or to fill large forms. We did not do any of that because we had realized as general internet users ourselves that people do not want to have hurdles when trying to search anything. We were not experts of UI or UX, we were just thinking like a Layman because that’s the guy who will use our website. Also, we made sure to not allow ratings or reviews on our website as they can be easily manipulated by several means. Plus, it is unethical for an advocate to be rated by a layman for the knowledge of his domain.
Instead we have allowed only lawyers to rate other lawyers who are enrolled on our platform. This helps us maintain the quality of recommendations. We have named this feature as “The Trust Circle”.
We had found this gap in the system while having a casual discussion over a cup of coffee. We weren’t planning to launch a startup during that time. I was into the family business and Kunal was a Lawyer. We still went ahead with the platform because we thought (and still do) that with the number of Lawyers present in our country, there is hardly any infrastructure to provide a support system to the public and Lawyers alike. We thought this would be a major solution to the problem of both the stakeholders.
I was married so I couldn’t just stop working and start building the startup the same day. I had to do my family business and work for the startup simultaneously. Kunal did not leave his practice till we had launched. We roped in Neeraj who was also working for a software development firm. He was working with us during weekends, so it took us a bit more time than it would to a team that was working full time. But once we launched the website, everyone gave 100% to it. There was uncertainty every single day. Some day we would meet lawyers who would praise our efforts. Then there would be lawyers who would just demolish our idea in a minute and tell us that people will never search a lawyer online. Although we provided them with the stats of the number of searches on Google for the same, they just wouldn’t come out of their mindset.
We started with 5 searches in a day, now we process over 2500.
As we started the research for our project (That same day itself), we found out that the reason for this state of affairs is the attitude of the Lawyers and their Governing Council. There were no clear guidelines as to what they can do and can’t. Every lawyer seemed to have his own interpretation of what the Bar Council Expects of him. There were lawyers who did not have an online presence at all and then there were advocates who were spending Lakhs of rupees for the SEO of their professional websites. So we practically did not know where to start. We kept on researching for almost a month before reaching to a conclusion as to what we will make of this website. But one day we decided to just go for it because we just couldn’t find a website which could provide what we were going to provide and that too totally free of charge. We made sure that we are able to keep the essence of internet alive by keeping it totally open for the public. We do not charge for searching, getting contact details or requesting appointments.
Our first breakthrough was when Lawyers from various Cities across India started enrolling themselves without us contacting them. This was a real treat for us. Lawyers started contacting us on LinkedIn and Email appreciating our work. For me that was the biggest success. We monetized our platform this July and were able to earn revenue of over Rs.2 Lakh in the first month itself. We provide Premium Memberships to the Lawyers who then get various intelligent data about their profiles like how are the people interacting with their profile, what searches they had made, etc.
Lawyersofindia.com was started with our own seed money. We are still boot-strapped.
We did not have a lot of money to invest, so we started slow. We hired a software development firm to make our website and that turned out to be a huge mistake. We would like to suggest everyone who is thinking to take the plunge for a Tech-Startup to get a Co-Founder who can handle that department. Initially it was just Kunal and Me. Kunal was the lawyer and I was the business guy. After we realized the huge mistake we had made regarding outsourcing our technology, we roped in Neeraj Rai who was an acquaintance and was working in a software development company himself. Once Neeraj was in, the technology was taken care of and we started moving at a much better speed. The launch and running the startup was no rosy event either. Even with Neeraj on board we did have the required expertise that we needed regarding Design, SEO, UI, UX and several other terms that we have come to terms with now.
All of us learnt something or the other apart from our core domain by watching YouTube videos and other blogs and applied it to our website. Neeraj studied SEO, Kunal studied Email-Marketing and I studied designing, all from the internet. I think we have turned amateurs ourselves in these respective fields now.
We used to read about startups and the kind of lengths they go to, to make it successful. Now we know how many sacrifices it takes to get it up and running. We wonder the kind of work heads of Unicorns put in. They are not there by any percentage of Luck. It is all pure hard-work.
We help over 2500 people find Lawyers every day. We also help young Lawyers get the desired reach which they otherwise cannot in any model whatsoever. Initially we used to get Thank you messages from friends and relatives. Now we get emails from the public and Lawyers for our platform.
We are still to reach a break-even point, but considering the fact that we had monetized the platform only 45 days ago, I think it is still too early to comment about it.
We earned more revenue in the first month than what we thought we would in 3 months. This has boosted our morale a lot. All of us have been putting our lives to it because we can see a certain change that Lawyersofindia would bring. There are so many people who still think that finding a Lawyer online is not the right thing to do. We did not want to substitute the method of referrals completely. We believe that initially it would be a supplementary means and ultimately with time when the internet reaches more households and the current 15 year olds turn 20, the usage of platforms like Lawyersofindia would grow manifolds.
In the near future we would love to see more and more Lawyers accept the fact that internet is not just for advertisement but also a search tool for the general public. Enrolling on an internet platform doesn’t mean you don’t have a good practice otherwise, it only means that as a learned professional believe that people deserve to know you outside of your city as well. The public should not have to go to 5 different middlemen to get to the desired Lawyer.
“As a company we would like to commence a few more services for the Lawyers to use. We have a couple of features lined up for a September launch as well.” -Mohit Nayar
Name of Startup: Lawyersofindia.com
Founders: Mohit Nayar, Kunal Narain, Neeraj Rai
Launch Date: 18th August 2015
Location: Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh)
- Easy to use and operate website.
- No hidden requirements to enable search
- Most effective filters to help a better search
- Free of Cost
- To enroll 25000 specialized Lawyers from all over India.
- To enable over 1 Lakh searches every day.
- To become the 1 stop platform to search Lawyers in India.
- Venture into other countries with similar problems.