Solving this problem has become a mission for Katie Richards, Chief Executive Officer of award-winning tele-law platform, Law On Earth.
“Law On Earth is a self-service tele-law platform where we teach the public how to self-act in their own legal matters,” Katie says.
“The problem we have in Australia is that even though we're a first world country, there's around 73% of the population that can't afford to manage their own legal issues, and they can't afford a law firm to do all the work.”
This amazing idea converted into a human-focused business, which led to Katie and Law On Earth walking away with a 2019 Lord Mayor’s Business Award (LMBAs) for Outstanding Micro Business.
Katie grew up in a small country town in North Queensland, where there was only one law firm.
She says this resulted in half the town having appropriate and reliable legal representation, and everyone else left guessing or, worse, choosing to not seek advice at all.
Katie sought to solve the problem by building a team of lawyers, developers and entrepreneurs who can give anyone the opportunity to access legal help when they need it, regardless of where they live or what they earn.
The success of this business model has led to some huge wins for Law On Earth, with the Queensland Small Business Commissioner now referring people to the platform, and a collaboration with Queensland University of Technology law students.
Excitingly, Katie says winning an LMBA helped Law On Earth be accepted into the Impact Boom Elevate+ Accelerator program. Katie was then fortunate to be accepted in the Startmate Tech Accelerator program, which ran from July to October of 2020 and has resulted in talks with Silicon Valley venture capital funds
It’s also helped the business tell its story to a wider audience, and Katie says businesses should consider entering if they have a great business story to tell.
“We got the opportunity to tell our story in front of hundreds of people at the awards night, as well as through the articles that went out to all of Brisbane,” she says.
“To actually apply for the award in Law On Earth’s first year and be successful was incredibly exciting. I think if someone is considering whether they should apply for the awards or not, you should definitely do it.
“If you're lucky enough to actually get to pitch in front of the judges, some of the advice that the judges will give you at the end of that is amazing, and it could actually make a really big difference for your business as well.”
Celebrating its 18th year, the Lord Mayor’s Business Awards acknowledge and celebrate the outstanding achievements of local businesses who have inspired, innovated and excelled in the preceding 12 months.
All Brisbane businesses are encouraged to apply as there are 11 diverse categories including Product Innovation, High-growth Business, Outstanding Micro and Small Business, Social Enterprise and Environmental Sustainability.
Being recognised as an LMBA finalist or winner provides a unique opportunity that extends far beyond the winning moment. It accelerates business growth, forges all-important connections and raises the profiles of the businesses to achieve great success. Winners join a high-calibre group of LMBA alumni including Swyftx, Tritium and Frankie 4 Footwear that have gone on to shape Brisbane’s business community.