Alum launches legal services app
Washington University alumnus and attorney Chris Daming recently launched Legal GPS, an app that provides legal advice to entrepreneurs and start-ups.
An alternative to traditional lawyers, Legal GPS was first conceptualized by Daming in 2014 when he was working as an attorney for entrepreneurs and noted that many business owners were using the internet for legal advice. Daming beta-tested the app in 2017 with multiple small businesses in the St. Louis area, and his company launched the app this April.
The app costs $35 for a yearly subscription, and it can be used to perform a “legal checkup” to determine the needs and potential problems of individual entrepreneurs. Users can search for specific topics, obtain contract documents or search the legal library on their own. The system will also notify users when an issue requires a specialist attorney.
“I was working in a co-working space and finding out that all of these entrepreneurs don’t want to hire attorneys because they’re either intimidated or they think they cost too much,” Daming said. “So I would find out how were they solving their problems, and they would be solving them through a Google search. The problem there is that you can’t solve a legal problem that you never knew to search for.”
As an attorney, Daming was familiar with the content and functions that an app like Legal GPS would need to provide, and he stressed that research is essential to know how to structure such an app.
“Make sure you’re solving a problem that actually exists. A lot of people will talk about these great ideas they have, and then they’ll find out that no one’s actually interested in the product, and they won’t gain any steam,” Daming said.
Daming emphasized the importance of doing interviews and testing before launching an app to understand what buyers are looking for.
“Talk to the audience. Go and actually sit down and interview people… and say, ‘Would you buy this?’ And if they say no, then say, ‘Well, what would you want to buy?’” Daming said. “You have to just talk to the audience and do tons of interviews, and it’s just incredibly helpful.”
Legal GPS has partnered with two co-working spaces in St. Louis, Nexcore and TechArtista. Co-founder of Nexcore Larry Cohn is working on making the app available to all of the businesses housed at Nexcore.
“About ten years ago, I had a business contract that I thought was real simple, and I didn’t feel a need to use an attorney or have a legal document checked or any of those things, and it cost me thousands of dollars because I didn’t have the right documents,” Cohn said.
Cohn believes that the low price tag of the Legal GPS app will help more business owners get access to legal services they wouldn’t otherwise have the money to afford.
“The challenge…is most people don’t have the money to check their rights or to make the improved, well-informed/educated decision. Because they’re checking their wallets before they’re checking their rights,” Cohn said.
Daming is enthusiastic about the partnerships with Nexcore and TechArtista, and looks forward to expanding and partnering with more co-working spaces in the future.
“We’ve got a lot of great things going, and we want to keep the growth going over the next year,” Daming said.