This young lawyer-entrepreneur is building a one-stop legal services platform
In India, anything to do with law and legal processes appears tediously complicated and time-consuming to the general public.
To make law and legal services more accessible to Indians, 23-year-old lawyer Shreya Sharma set out on the entrepreneurial journey and launched Rest The Case.
Armed with a Bachelor’s in Law from Cardiff University in the UK, Shreya’s first stint with the law was during a summer class on international relations at Harvard University.
Since then, her interest only grew to learn more about the importance of law of the land in different countries.
Shreya realised that in India, it was more difficult to find lawyers and get to the bottom of any legal process than in most other countries. Most Indians have little idea of where to begin and what kind of lawyer they need.
“It is very easy to find a lawyer outside India because things are very systematic, beginning with the specific kind of lawyer you need. But that is not the case in India,” she tells HerStory.
Pune-based legal startupaims to solve this confusion around the law and legal processes in two ways.
First, the startup serves as a media platform that simplifies legal jargon, acts, amendments, and other information in the legal domain. Second, it provides templates for various legal agreements and contracts that people can use just by adding their names and personal information without any charge.
However, Rest The Case’s main purpose is to connect clients with lawyers with various specialisations, including adoption, alimony, consumer, banking, bankruptcy, GST, copyright, and immigration, among others.
The legal startup features over 1,000 lawyers from across 180 countries. While these lawyers are registered to get listed on the platform, they are not full-time employees of the company.
Rest The Case earns its revenue from helping lawyers enhance their profiles. While it ensures a good flow of clients on the platform, it does not charge them anything and only focuses on connecting them to the lawyers.
“This is because most clients who come to us are desperately seeking legal assistance and finding a lawyer for that, and we don’t want to ask for payment before they proceed,” she says.
Starting with an initial investment of Rs 3 lakh from her father, Shreya says Rest The Case has processed over 500 cases so far.
The bootstrapped startup is tapping into India’s growing legal services market, valued at $1.3 billion in 2018. In addition to established law firms, Rest The Case shares the market with others like VakilSearch, NearLaw, Lawyered, Legal Desk, Nyaaya, and iProbono.
Having taken the entrepreneurial plunge at a young age, many people doubt her startup and often look down on it as a hobby that would fizzle out in time. However, Shreya did not pay much heed to it.
Nonetheless, gaining a customer's trust has been a challenge for the legal startup.
“This is because people are fighting very personal battles, and we have tried to handhold every client on the platform to make sure they know where they are in the legal processes, the lawyers, and understand the process themselves,” she explains.
She says that Rest The Case’s website is encrypted to ensure the privacy of all the information uploaded and exchanged on the platform.
The young entrepreneur says she is among the lucky few women who have not really faced gender bias in the market and ensures her startup does not entertain such biases, especially when hiring.
Shreya ensures gender is not a factor when onboarding people on the team and prioritises merit and skill-based hiring.
Moving ahead, Shreya hopes to introduce mediations on the platform and claims to be in talks with the country’s top mediators to facilitate this service.
Edited by Suman Singh