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LawBite allows small business owners to access professional contracts and legal advice for a fraction of the traditional cost.
Lawyer Clive Rich founded LawBite in May last year after spotting a gap in the market for simple, easy to customize contracts for small businesses.
“Small companies are put off by the expense of dealing with lawyers,” he explained. “And contracts are often impossible to understand so many choose to operate without them, which puts entrepreneurs at risk. Mistakes in contracts, funding agreements or in relation to intellectual property can also severely damage the exit valuation of a company. I wanted to create a platform where these kinds of contracts were available at a reasonable price, written in easy to understand English.”
LawBite currently holds 60 different types of contract, ranging from IT procurement contracts to shareholder agreements, unsecured loan contracts to non-disclosure agreements.
Each document can be edited online and shared securely through the platform. The platform features e-signature technology to make the contract-signing process more efficient.
Contracts start at £20. There is also a subscription service which gives companies access to all the documents for £99 per year.
Mr Rich has been a practising lawyer for 30 years and has negotiated deals for the likes of Apple, Google and Simon Cowell. He has brokered more than £10bn worth of global deals to date.
Mr Rich spent a year honing the LawBite concept, including a beta test with 40 small business owners. The soft launch for the site took place earlier this year.
There is also an “Ask the expert” function which allows small business owners to discuss any queries with a qualified legal expert for £130 per hour. “This is half of what a typical law firm would charge,” claimed Mr Rich.
According to research by the Legal Services Board, 40pc of UK small businesses have experienced a “significant” legal issue over the past 12 months. As a result, Mr Rich believes the market for his product will be significant.
“The legal industry has always been resistant to change,” said Mr Rich. “By rewriting all the contracts into plain English and simplifying the process, I’m hoping to help more small businesses protect their interests, and bring the law into the 21st century.”
Typical legal clause vs LawBite translation
1. Any notices required or permitted to be given hereunder shall be given in writing and shall be delivered (a) in person, (b) by certified mail, postage prepaid, return receipt requested, (c) by facsimile, or (d) by a commercial overnight courier that guarantees next day delivery and provides a receipt. Any notice shall be effective only upon delivery, which for any notice given by facsimile shall mean notice that has been received by the party to whom it is sent as evidenced by confirmation slip.
If you want the contract to end you have to write to the other side saying so at least 28 days before you want the contract to stop.
2. This agreement and any disputes or claims arising out of or in connection with it or its subject matter or formation (including non-contractual disputes or claims) are governed by, and construed in accordance with, the law of England.
The parties irrevocably agree that the courts of England have exclusive jurisdiction to settle any dispute or claim that arises out of or in connection with this agreement or its subject matter or formation (including non-contractual disputes or claims).
This contract is made under English law and you and the Company agree that the English courts are the only place where disputes arising from it can be decided. You and the Company confirm that you can’t go back on your agreement about this point.