On 7 December 2020, the prestigious Law Society Gazette reported the success of Monaco Solicitors in winning an award of £98,900 to develop an on-line letter builder for employees called ‘Virtual Lawyer’. Below is an outline of the article.
Virtual Lawyer is being developed by the employment firm Monaco Solicitors. At its core are algorithms based on artificial intelligence and a database of letters and other documents drawn from previous legal cases. The latest version can be accessed via Monaco Solicitor’s website homepage.
The letter produced is created by an employee who doesn’t have any legal knowledge, but who is in a dispute with their employer. Virtual Lawyer enables the employee to create a legal letter to send to their employer in an attempt to resolve their dispute.
Virtual Lawyer is free and anonymous. It’s likely to be particularly useful for people who have got legal employment cases, but who can’t afford to pay for legal advice.
It can also be used by a solicitor or other legal adviser working with a client, so that the adviser’s time can be spent dealing with the complexities of a case.
Monaco Solicitors is the only law firm amongst six ‘legal-tech’ innovators who were between them granted nearly £600,000 by the Sustainable Innovation Fund of the government-funded Innovate UK research and development body.
The award will be used by Monaco Solicitors to develop and build the Virtual Lawyer tool in partnership with other organisations who are active in the Access to Justice arena.
Monaco’s partners already include the London Legal Advice Centre (University House) and Working Families and the firm hopes to extend collaboration to other law firms and organisations working in the field, as well as to other areas of the law.
Alex Monaco, founder and senior partner at Monaco Solicitors, said: ‘The legal sector has been held back by not having a shared platform. We want to build a real-life community of lawyers to take more of a collaborative approach.’
‘This would not be a competitive threat but rather a way of opening up to 95% of the potential market, people who have never been able to instruct a lawyer’.
The Law Society Gazette’s article can be read in full here.