CEO Legal Faceoff Inc
The idea behind Legal FaceOff is rooted in the coupling of modern communications technology with alternative dispute resolution methods.
The Legal FaceOff solution is a streaming, online video arbitration/mediation based dispute resolution platform.
The company’s unique system will enable parties to plead a case, upload evidence (pictures, documents, videos) for the arbitrator/mediator to view and then, pending the legal system it is used by, receive a legally binding resolution from the arbitrator.
The entire dispute resolution process will be conducted by live streaming web-based video conferencing within the Legal FaceOff platform. All of the documentation and evidence material will be uploaded directly to the case folder at Legal FaceOff website and the parties will be able to view and discuss them during the resolution process
1. Can you briefly describe the innovation, in terms of the problem(s) it tries to solve and why is it necessary?
Legal FaceOff was built because there is a problem with the legal system:
- Current dispute resolution alternatives suffers from high level of bureaucracy
- ADR systems have limited accessibility and require significant time allocation and financial resources.
- Caseload is on the rise internationally; legal system resources are shrinking and are facing budget cuts.
- As a result of these issues, consumers if possible avoid the legal system or succumb to it. Today when you are going to a lawyer you are facing with many uncertainties, true legal cost, and length of time until case resolved, and what are the chances of a favorable resolution.
The Legal FaceOff premise is to simplify the process and bring the sides to the table infornt of a legal expert in a fast and simple manner to get a resolution for the legal dispute.
2. What makes your innovation unique?
Innovative legal services are changing the legal world. Consumers have legal data at their fingertips and the traditional role of lawyers is challenged. Government legal systems are under heavy budget cuts and are looking for ways to be more cost effective. Changes to laws are seeing new electronic formats including documents, pictures, videos that can only be accessed via online methods introduced and used by legal systems.
The Legal FaceOff core product is the understanding that legal disputes are all about communication. We built our web-based product to ease communication of legal sides and give them the freedom to connect from anywhere, anytime. Of course it was built with legal advice and research with the vision of how we want to see the legal system in the future.
The physical location of a business will be irrelevant in the future; most services that we use today would disappear or will be transformed to the cloud and become virtual. It is our belief that human interaction is essential between disputed sides to reach a resolution..
3. What triggered the development of the innovation?
I was always fascinated by legal systems. I remember using Amazon and PayPal dispute system and thinking why I cannot hear or see the other side.
When I set to start Legal FaceOff I started with a simple idea. Let’s have court session online with 2 sides and a judge and get a fast resolution. I remembering going to a startup meetup in NYC that was held in one of the biggest law firms in New York. After the end of the meetup I went to talk to the host, which was one of the head partners of the law firm and discussed Legal FaceOff concept idea. His reaction was that it would never work. He said, “That in arbitration and mediation you need to see the other side and play on his weakness and be able to negotiate eye to eye. He said, “No lawyer would want to use your system” I remember going out of that office meeting thinking, I am going to prove him wrong. I want to do a legal destination that when you have a legal dispute you login and able to get a resolution from anywhere, anytime. In my research for I came to the realization that by providing access to justice I am leveling the playing field. If any person no matter his financial level, ethnicity, language can use a uniform simple legal system from anywhere on the globe and get legal resolution in the same level that big firms get that is an amazing benefit and what innovation for the greater good is all about.
4. Which persons and organisations were involved in the development and what role did they play?
I developed the LFO concept over the course of the last two years. I have a technology background and combining it with an interest in the legal system, I came up with the online dispute idea. I also filed for a patent for an online dispute resolution system to conduct disputes online..
5. What kind of resistance have you encountered and how have you overcome it?
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to him. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” -George Bernard Shaw
The biggest challenge is a cultural one. New web services are taking away traditional legal services that were exclusive to the legal world. I think lawyers and legal experts have to adjust to this changing world and find new niche markets that their valuable expertise could benefit them and their customers.
Since I started the company I consulted a number of legal experts from mediation to arbitration pointing that you have emotional aspects and the need to spend time listening and be creative in the process to reach a mediation solution. Also I was told that he legal world cannot rely on technology and the legal method have been proven for many years.
I was getting worried that maybe change is not the right way until I spoke to a leading conflict expert, which approved my system and understood the essence that conflicts are about the resolution and the legal world need to concentrate more on resolving disputes and not prolonging them.
6. How did you make the goals realistic and attainable, and when will quick wins be available?
We have signed up a number of pilot programme partners in the US and Europe and in the process of implementing and adjusting the platform for their needs. We are also approaching municipalities and judicial systems to incorporate our innovation platform with existing systems to help in caseload congestion and cutting cost while keeping the level of justice that is expected from them. I think it all comes to knocking on as many doors as possible and showcase the future through my system. The future of the legal system is in web services like mine and the more resistance from traditional legal experts the more people and customer would want to explore other legal alternatives to traditional ones.
7. Will the innovation affect other organisations in the chain and if that is the case, how will it affect them?
Legal FaceOff is on the verge of changing the legal world, changing its culture, and there is a move of many services to the cloud. Some areas which are making progress is telemedicine, banking and of course retail. My platform will affect service to citizens that expect their governments and municipalities to be more responsive; everyone is talking about quality of life and service. Another sector is the legal world, Lawyers are facing many challenges and are also feel the effect of downturn economy and the rise of web based legal services. They will be able to offer new services be cost effective to them and their clients and be able to solve more cases.
8. How was the development funded and what were reasons for the financing organisation?
Legal FaceOff is a private company, which is funded by private investors. When I came up with the concept of Legal FaceOff, it took me 2 years to make the vision a reality. I approached a few investors and was able to get funded to build the platform and begin the marketing and implementation phase.
9. Can you name 3 to 5 characteristics of the innovation that are most essential to make it work?
- Web based technology – the LFO platform is web-based - no download or install is required. We combine the latest video and web technology to make the experience simple enough that anyone with a simple computer and a webcam can use it - from the customers' side to the legal experts to judges arbitrators and mediators.
- Simplicity – Our team of user interface experts broke down the legal process into a simple-to-use flow. We simplify the registration, ability to upload evidence and schedule a session. It is a simple base platform that we can adjust it to any rules and laws and legal method that we wish to use
- Communication – the basis of Legal FaceOff's ability to become the destination for anyone with a dispute is the belief that core disputes is all about communication. With that vision we set up to built the best communication platform that would enable any legal expert with any level to communicate and to be able to have a resolution for his disputes
10. How do you measure whether it is a successful innovation?
My team and I have invested time and resources to really understand what are the issues with the current legal systems. We also consulted many lawyers, mediators, arbitrators and judges to get the inside of what are the challenges that we need to overcome to implement Legal FaceOff as a mainstream platform, from legal issues, clauses, looks and feel. I think my biggest measure of success would be to have the LFO platform used by various forms of ADR from local municipalities to international arbitration. From the small consumer and regular person to international business and big organisations, I have witnessed first hand in small claims court and other locations the emotional stress, cost, and the journey to get justice. I want to ease and make this journey a thing of the past.
11. How many people or organisations benefit from this innovation now?
A few mediation and arbitration organisations are using the platform and we are also in talks with state court systems and big arbitration organisations to join our pilot programme.
12. How many people or organisations could potentially benefit your innovation now and in the future? Can or will the innovation be used internationally and how do you overcome cultural differences?
The potential of LFO to become a mainstream platform of the private legal world, municipalities and governments is huge. Especially in the international arena, with widespread international trade and movement of goods and people from country to country, my system can enable anyone, anywhere any time to have their legal issue resolved. The vision is to be able to built many LFO platforms for different organisations and companies and then connect them to create a single legal system that everyone can login with a legal dispute find the appropriate legal system (mediation, arbitration) and be able to reach a resolution in a reasonable time and cost.
13. Can you quantify the financial benefits?
All gain from the use of the LFO platform.
- Consumers will save time and money not having to go to court or a legal office.
- Lawyers, arbitrators and mediators can expand their reach beyond physical location and can increase their business.
- Governments and municipalities can save money, reducing cost for staff and become efficient.
- LFO has green benefits that contribute to the quality of living.
- People with disabilities will be able to have legal access like everyone else.
14. Is the innovation financially viable and sustainable and if yes, how?
We are working on several revenue models:
- Usage – the simplest one will be to pay for usage of the platform, an agreed upon fee per case will be charged to use the platform
- Licensing – we will license the platform to other organisations, municipalities and international cooperations to use the platform under their brand name.
- Settlement cut – We are working on a platform for high settlement sums that can use our platform effectively and cost efficiently.
15. Did you receive any recognition?
My biggest recognition is to be able to be nominated for this award.
16. What lessons did you learn along the way that could be useful to others?
Steve Jobs once said – “I want to make a dent in the universe” I think that each and every one us should follow that vision. Everyone wants recognition of his actions and life. What could be better than to give everyone the ability to log in to a legal system and be able to have a dispute resolved with full confidence of the process and be able to move on. Best advice, look around you and incorporate it in your vision and core values.