LawOnline is a new Irish company delivering legal services to individuals, business and solicitors using unique web-enabled technology. It was initially financially supported by Tipperary North County Enterprise Board and later by Enterprise Ireland as part of the latter’s High Potential Start-Up Programme. The founder of LawOnline is Oliver O’Shea (see Oliver’s CV below) and LawOnline's focus is exclusively on the Republic of Ireland jurisdiction.
The legal sector is one of the last to be impacted by the Internet and this process is now well under way in a number of countries, particularly the United Stated and the United Kingdom. LawOnline is part of the evolving application of technology to the delivery of legal services as described in the the work of Professor Richard Susskind, the author of ‘Tomorrow’s Lawyers’.
When a client meets a solicitor the format of engagement is similiar to an interview. Questions are asked by the solicitor and answers are given by the client on which basis the solicitor drafts the appropriate document. LawOnline uses technology to replicate this process in a web-enabled interactive experience which one can engage with at home, at work or on-the-move. When a LawOnline user completes the online questionnaire as part of a document drafting process they not only have a completed and high quality legal document, they are also then well-educated in the legal issues involved.
The LawOnline platform ‘assembles’ a legal document using the information provided by the client, the legal rules and legal knowledge embedded in its software and the legal clauses and language in its database, all of which were drafted by solicitors holding practising certificates from the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland. We refer to 'document processes' rather than simply 'documents' - at the start of each questionnaire the document does not exist and only builds as the user provides the required information.
Our services are also intended for the legal profession.
For solicitors, the power and knowledge of our expert legal software enables a wider range of legal advice services and expertise to be offered, particularly by the smaller firms. Less experienced professional legal staff are able to complete legal documents, agreements and contracts that would otherwise require hands-on senior level supervision. LawOnline also eliminates the proof-reading overhead associated with traditional ‘cut and paste’ Word document precedents.
In general terms, the legal expertise and productivity delivered by LawOnline’s technology is a new and unique opportunity for the Irish legal profession with significant potential to change and enhance how these services are delivered.
At an early stage in its development LawOnline also sought a collaboration with the Irish legal profession. William Brennan, the Joint Managing Partner of William J. Brennan & Co. Solicitors (WJB), immediately understood the power of this technology and wanted his firm to be a key part of this new and innovative development for his profession. WJB is LawOnline's partner legal firm and provides document review and legal advice services to LawOnline users as required.
Oliver O’Shea has more than 35 years banking and financial services experience in Ireland, the UK, the US and Continental Europe. After five years with Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) in Dublin and Chicago, he then held a number of financial management positions in the UK. He was FD of Abbey National Life Assurance Division and CFO of Abbey National plc (now Santander), a major U.K. bank. On his return to Ireland he joined Goodbody Stockbrokers, within the investment banking arm of Allied Irish Banks, where he covered the Financial Services sector as part of the Institutional Stockbroking team. He also worked with BearingPoint (KPMG Consulting) as Head of the Financial Services Practice. In late 2006, he assembled and led a multinational team which established a new and innovative consumer electronic banking venture in France – Voxpay365 – in partnership with a Luxembourg bank. From 2010 to 2012, in a collaboration with Savills Plc, he developed a workout structure intended for application to the distressed residential property loans held by Nama and the banks. Oliver attended University College Dublin, graduating with a First Class Honours degree in Economics and a Master’s in Applied Economics, and is also a qualified Accountant.