Melbourne-founded legal management software-as-a-service startup LawAdvisor has acquired legal automation startup Kobi.ai from award-winning Australian law firm Mills Oakley.
Kobi.ai, founded by Raphael Cardona, automates the initial consultation stage of the client-lawyer relationship. It processes legal and historical data to flag pieces of legal information that will be of importance to legal professionals and their clients.
In its current form, Kobi.ai draws upon case data and the migration act to offer advice on how to improve visa applications and can provide advice on alternative visa pathways.
LawAdvisor founder Brennan Ong says the acquisition speaks to the LawAdvisor’s continued focus on giving new and existing customers access to leading edge legal technology.
"We want to, as much as possible, even before a client engages with a lawyer, provide them with as much reliable information as we can," Ong says.
"At the very minimum Kobi.ai gives us a way to make it easier for these people to access the most appropriate service offered on LawAdvisor."
LawAdvisor's public marketplace will undergo a redesign in the coming months, as the startup works to integrate Kobi.ai. The services it provides corporate clients will be unaffected.
The terms of the acquisition are undisclosed, but will see Cardona join LawAdvisor where he will manage LawAdvisor’s product automation.
"Legal services is a highly regulated industry, which makes it almost impossible to prescribe legal advice without crossing legal and ethical boundaries," Cardona says.
"I didn't want to cross those boundaries, but at the same time, I knew the core Kobi.ai platform could make obtaining legal advice less painful. The experience LawAdvisor has in the space, and its existing network of lawyers, mean it's the best platform to get this tech out there. I'm enjoying working with the team and share their passion for making legal advice more accessible for all."
Cardona's previous startup Speak with Scout was awarded a place in the Mills Oakley Accelerator in Melbourne. While Speak with Scout, a legal chatbot, did not get off the ground, it gave him access to the award-winning Mills Oakley team. He pitched Kobi.ai to their innovation team and they were impressed.
“Obtaining legal advice should be simple and intuitive,” said Mills Oakley CEO John Nerurker. “We immediately saw how clients could benefit from the technology behind Kobi.ai.”
“LawAdvisor is well placed to take Kobi.ai to the next level, building scalability and accessibility in the broader market. Meanwhile, we are running our second Accelerator and looking forward to investing in other promising startups, continuing our support for legal innovation in Australia.”
Ong and the LawAdvisor team are taking what they’ve learnt from working with corporate partners like Mills Oakley over the past few years and strengthening its public-facing platform. It’s a continuation of its founding mission: to improve access to justice in Australia.
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