Lawyers bill you for their time. That’s not new, but it is expensive. An hour of time can run you $300, and that’s on the low end. But what if you only have a few questions that might eat up, say, 15 minutes? That’s $75 for a couple simple questions, which ain’t so simple.
That’s where Get20 fills a need, and it is this week’s “Uber of X.” Get20 is the Uber of Law.
Get20, currently based out of Chicago’s 1871, pairs those with legal questions with those with legal answers — namely, lawyers. Once on the site, you type in your question and your information, and a lawyer will give you a ring back in 20 minutes — sometimes, even sooner. Right now, the site is on a subscription basis of $39 per month for six months. However, in the next two weeks, the site is launching an on-demand, one-off option, which is even more similar to Uber than the subscription model, which, ironically, has been something that Uber added on recently. So far, Get20 has received a cut of the final transaction but says the pricing model may evolve.
The business has already has had 500 customers. Of those customers, Get20 has, to date, been focused on connecting startups and small businesses with attorneys but is looking to expand to all types of law — family, trusts and estate and more — in the near future. The expansion is slated to continue further: While Get20 is based in Chicago now, the plan is to roll out across the state of Illinois and then spread into other markets. The business is also looking to allow other industries to join in, such as accounting or IT. Just think about your accountant, tech guy and lawyer all at your fingertips.
As for the lawyers, Get20 has pulled in just under 100 lawyers — all have at least a few years of experience and have been checked for violations with the Bar Association.
PYMNTS sat down with Get20 CEO Suvro Goswami, a former Motorola executive, to talk about the founding of the business, the company’s on-demand launch and what surprises he’s found in building this startup.
PYMNTS: Tell us about the founding of Get20. Is this something that had been in the works for a long time?
SG: In a nutshell, we’re looking to be the Uber of Law. So, if you have any legal questions, you go to our website, you put the legal related question in and, within 20 minutes, an attorney will call you back. It works at a price of $20 or less.
How it came to be is: I was working on a different startup and a consulting firm, and anytime I had a question, either I emailed or called my lawyer, I would indefinitely get a bill in the mail prorated at $400 per hour. So, a quick question would cost me $50 or $60 bucks, and I thought there has to be a better way. There’s got to be attorneys that are good that have lunchtime or downtime, and they’re willing to talk to new clients and not have to bill at that high rate. And so, it led to Get20.
We started working on it in Sept. 2015. We were working on the site and building out the mobile app. And then, around June of 2016, we launched a test pilot program trying to build the subscription service, which is a slightly different model from the true on-demand. Around July, we started working on the full on-demand product. So, now, we are two weeks away from a launch we’re testing now. We have a couple launch partners that are launching with us. We’ll have widgets that we’ll have on our site and a partner website. So, for example, members of 1871 can actually speak to an attorney on-demand and for free.
PYMNTS: What does Uber of X mean to you?
SG: The Uber of X means to me that, when I’m looking for something I can get, I want it without having to do more than one or two button clicks. So, if I want legal help, I can literally put in a question, hit send and a lawyer calls me back — all instantaneously.
PYMNTS: What’s the intent of the business? Walk us through the customer and the lawyer experiences.
SG: The intent of the business for consumers is really two things. One is to make it easier for them to get ahold of an attorney when they want it. Back to how this all started. I think about when I couldn’t get ahold of my attorney and I had an emergency-type question and I didn’t know who to talk to, I would end up Googling a solution, and that wasn’t an ideal solution because I’d rather talk to an attorney. But it takes time to schedule an appointment, and sometimes, you don’t or can’t wait. A lot of us are CEOs and founders and business owners and other smart people who want things right then and there. This is meant to satisfy that. Second, it’s really to cut down the cost. One of the reasons you don’t go and request multiple conversations with different attorneys is because you feel bad that you only have a couple quick questions. You don’t want to set up a half-hour consultation just to get those answered and then not use that time and money for anything else. So, what we’re saying is: Just ask those questions and don’t worry about setting up a consultation and not feel bad that you might not use that attorney again.
From the attorney side, it’s really about connecting them with more customers in a very efficient manner. The idea is that later they can turn those contacts into clients by following up. So, there are other benefits to working with Get20, to get clients to stay with them in the future. Also, what’s beneficial for the attorney, they can do a lot more calls in a given amount of time. For example, traditionally, if a new client books a consultation of a half-hour slot, people take up a half-hour, whether they really need that half-hour or not. With Get20, in our testing, we found that, when you allow people to do on-demand and not give pre-booked time slots, people can get most of their questions answered within 10–15 minutes, especially quick ones. And then, it starts the relationship just from that first call. So, for an attorney, they can handle two to three calls in the same timeframe that they would normally just have one client.
PYMNTS: Sounds similar to LegalZoom. How is Get20 different?
SG: LegalZoom is focused on providing automated attorney documentation with the option to talk to an attorney, if you want, via scheduled calls. Get20 is on-demand, to talk to an attorney whenever you want. It’s pure lead gen for attorneys.
PYMNTS: How much funding have you received?
SG: We’ve bootstrapped it, but we’ve raised over $150,000 from friends and family, including some main investors that we cannot reveal at this point.
PYMNTS: What’s been the biggest hurdle?
SG: I’d say the toughest challenge in general is, when you’re trying to do something disruptive, you want people to change behavior. From a lawyer’s perspective, in my mind, Get20 is a no-brainer. Just because they don’t pay anything to be part of it, they don’t have to take a call if they don’t want to, and it’s “lead gen,” but even then lawyers are inherently conservative and they don’t like change. Frankly, they would love if they could charge $300 or more for the remainder of their careers. But the industry’s changing. And getting lawyers that are experienced to move with that change, that’s not as simple as it sounds. The younger lawyers are generally a little bit more hungry, but the older ones want to keep it as is.
PYMNTS: Any surprises?
SG: Starting a business is harder than it ever sounds. There isn’t a person who I have talked to yet who didn’t tell us Get20 is a “no-brainer” and that we’re going to be very successful very fast. But believe it or not, changing behavior is a lot harder than people think. We work 16 or 18 hours a day to move things as fast as we can. But changing behavior is hard. I didn’t originally think it would be that way. So, it’s something we’re learning, but it’s not something we can’t overcome.
I think also the other thing I’ve learned is that many people say they want to help build a startup. I’ve had many people say they want to help, and then, when it came time to actually deliver, there’s a reason a lot of people don’t start startups because execution is more than just sitting there in meetings giving your two cents. We have a lot of people who like to give their two cents but not enough people who know how to get stuff done. So, it’s focusing on who can really execute and is not just talk.