By Atty. Emily Manuel
Eagle News and Features
MAKATI CITY, Philippines (Eagle News) — The first ever online legal consultation app called LexMeet was launched at the AIM Conference Center on Monday, November 26, 2018.
LexMeet offers real-time online consultation on their video chat platform where clients can directly ask questions and receive legal advice.
Users can download the App from Google Play store and initiate a consultation request by purchasing an initial credit of P500. LexMeet will then help select the right lawyer for the client based on the lawyer’s legal expertise, geographic location, and dialect. Lawyers are informed of their client’s legal problem in advance and given time to review their documents. Clients pay a flat fee of P35 per minute.
According to Atty. Marlon Valderama, President and CEO of LexMeet, Inc. the App aims to address affordability, convenience, security in seeking legal services. The App primarily caters to OFWs, SMEs, and foreign investors.
He noted that strict confidentiality is observed during LexMeet consultations. These consultations are not recorded, so clients should take down notes, while talking to a lawyer through the LexMeet app.
“It is strictly confidential. We don’t have a copy (recording) of whatever legal problem (was discussed). It’s only between the client and the lawyer,” Valderama said.
“So when they talk inside LexMeet, it’s not recorded,” he added.
Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay said that this legal consultation app has “a lot of potential between bridging the gap between the lawyers and the clients.”
He said that hopefully, this would “provide greater accessibility for legal services” and hopefully also help in lowering its cost.
While the appeal to the younger generation of lawyers is already a given, Hilbay said that even older lawyers will eventually realize the value of using such technology in the profession.
During the launch of LexMeet, Dr. Chie Umandap, Chairman of AKO OFW, said this app will help a lot of OFWs.
“That is what we need actually. Abroad, we don’t have lawyers. Kung meron man, doon sa Middle East, ang hirap makipag-communicate,” he noted.
As a result, many OFWs are not advised properly on their legal problems and cases.
Umandap also cited the dangers of OFWs turning to social media for legal advice. He told the story of an OFW who was charged with bigamy because someone on social media told him that he can remarry after seven years of separation with his wife. He also talked about an OFW, a victim of rape, who was eventually forced to sign an affidavit of desistance because she wasn’t able to speak with an attorney.
Since its soft launch in 2017, the LexMeet app has processed over 6,000 legal problems and has over 250 lawyers and 7,500 clients worldwide.
Atty. Valderama said that his inspiration for creating the LexMeet app was the OFWs and other vulnerable sectors who cannot afford lawyers, or who do not have access to one.
He siad that LexMeet is the first and only app of its kind where lawyers and clients can meet online. More importantly, it is an app invented by a Filipino to help fellow Filipinos wherever in the world they may be.
(Photos and videos courtesy Tantan Alcantara, Eagle News Service correspondent)