AvocateKhoj.com has been launched in India – they tout it as India’s first dedicated Case Post System for Consumers, which is fair enough. I checked out a couple of sites related to law in India and none of them seem to offer the service. The service will basically help people find a lawyer.
So its simple, a consumer posts a tiny query or a query about his case and an advocate may answer it free of cost to build his reputation. The consumer may also invite help for his case, lawyers will answer after which the consumer can now view the responses from various advocates, check their background information, education and experience, and then make an informed decision on whom to engage for their case.
AdvocateKhoj says that it uses automated online technologies that match specific needs of a consumer with a lawyer by matching geographically, and also based on a lawyer’s various salient attributes and legal expertise. The matching is fully automated and is based on client-entered criteria, so there is no preferential treatment of any particular lawyer.
I would assume that lawyers do not put up their contact details because otherwise the consumer will contact the lawyer directly.
A handy service however my only problem is that other than a meeting point, the portal does not offer anything else to the consumer or the lawyer. Take into account, for example, GlobalScholar.com – they bring together teachers and students AND they also have an interactive whiteboard lesson on which classes can be delivered! So essentially they are delivering a value add apart from matching individuals. AdvocateKhoj currently lacks this. They should probably innovate a little more to make sure that their service adds more than just people matching – because once a relationship (of a customer) with a lawyer is established, revenue streams will not flow in (and im assuming they take a cut off the lawyer’s fees if the customer contacts him through the AdvocateKhoj platform). They need to give both lawyers and consumers to make AdvocateKhoj their meeting point beyond the 1st meeting. That’s where I think this model is unsustainable.
Apart from that AdvocateKhoj, in my opinion is still not a full-fledged law portal – it does not empower the average consumer to learn more about law by himself. That may say something about the culture of the website which might dissuade today’s increasingly “exploration ready” internet audience who likes digging up information and then seeking advice.
Credit must be given to the name though. The name signifies the brand.
There are a couple of other legal portals, which I will do a quick review on:
LegalServiceIndia.com – It is probably the most impressive of the lot. Has forums, a tax calculator, forms, acts, a bookstore, FAQ’s, and guess what – you can also find yourself an advocate! However this is not an advocate ‘finder’ like AdvocateKhoj – it just has listings. So it does not allow advocates to participate on one problem at one source & then allow the customer to choose. It makes the customer do the hard work. In that sense – its PRETTY outdated.
IndiaLegalHelp.com – Crappy site, it’s the website of a personal consultant and it wrongly gives the impression that it’s a help forum for anyone with legal problems in India.
LegalHelpIndia.com – A comprehensive information portal containing most of the information you would need about Indian Law. It however is a 1-way communication site, extremely static. There is also no search bar within the site. To compensate for that the site owner has put an option at the end of the page that allows all the information that the site has to be included in Google searches. It redirects to ‘Google Custom Search’ Page. At last count only 21 people had subscribed. So obviously something is not working. Navigation needs to be sorted out soon!
LegalPundit.com – Another Individual Consultant. Not worth looking at if you want a truly web 2.0 experience.
To be fair to AdvocateKhoj, I think even though it has a lot of flaws, it is probably one of those sites that is finally looking to refine the legal experience on Internet India and simplify the process. I wish it had more – it would have been a killer!