Chatting with Alejandra Figueiras, the co-founder and CEO of The Future Lawyer, at the 2018 Legal Geek Conference.

Kevin O’Keefe: You are starting, The Future Lawyer. What is it?

Alejandra Figueiras: Well, what I want it to be, it’s big. I want this company to be a sustainable brand that can have several streams, because I understand that now all this legal tech is very specific – contract review, document review, chatbots, etc. So I wanted to have a big brand to incorporate several solutions. At the beginning I want to develop a solution based on artificial intelligence technology, to give legal advice to real people. I see that as I was saying in my talk, I feel that lawyers have become very farm human beings for real people – they’re expensive, you have to get an appointment. I am developing solutions for real people at a very reasonable price, and use technology with a deep legal knowledge inside. It is not a chat bot. There is a very complex legal character underlying the platform and very advanced technology. People will see a very friendly interface, and fairly easy to use a tool for their real problems.

Kevin O’Keefe: And you’re from Madrid, right? So this will be for people in Spain?

Alejandra Figueiras: At the first stage, yes.

Kevin O’Keefe: And how do people reach this solution? How will they get to it?

Alejandra Figueiras: Well through the website, or through their mobile. In the first stage it’s not just for Spain it’s for the Spanish-speaking market, which is 500 million people, 20 countries.

Kevin O’Keefe: Why you? You were practicing law before? What made you think you want to do this instead of practicing law? It’s not easy.

Alejandra Figueiras: No, it’s not easy, but I felt that something had broken at a certain point. I felt that the way I was practicing law didn’t make sense anymore. It was expensive, it wasn’t efficient, I’d bill the clients for several hours of document review, and it was real, but I said there has to be a way to do this in a more efficient way. So I went to research and experiment with things, and now here I am and now I love both. I love technology and I love the law. I am not an ex-lawyer. I am a lawyer who wants to use technology for a better life.

Kevin O’Keefe: I felt the same when I was practicing. There was no trust, or relationship, between real people and lawyers, but if lawyers go online and go out and start sharing information, going out where the people are instead of waiting for people to come to them. You can develop that intimate relationship. Trust can start to happen, but you’ve got to go out and help. What’s the hardest part of doing this?

Alejandra Figueiras: I believe you have to balance a traditional way of practicing law and listening to people. I am not against the old way of practicing law.

Kevin O’Keefe: What is the hardest part of starting The Future Lawyer?

Alejandra Figueiras: Well, it’s trying to figure out and visualize a product that is useful for the people, and not just something that you like. I am working with people who are helping me with branding strategy and market research and are telling me “people need this.”

Kevin O’Keefe: Were you able to fund this all on your own, or did you have to go out and raise capital to make this a possibility?

Alejandra Figueiras: I am funding it on my own.

Kevin O’Keefe: A little bit scary?

Alejandra Figueiras: Yes, but it’s a good fear. There are bad fears and good fears, and this is a good fear, an exciting fear.

Kevin O’Keefe: You know there’s other people here today, other lawyers who are practicing law, seeing people like yourself, and other entrepreneurs and founders of small companies, and they’re thinking about it in the back of their mind – should I do it or not? If you were sitting down and having a meal with them, what would you tell them if they asked you that? Cause you’ve been doing it for a little while now .

Alejandra Figueiras: Well they need to have a very deep and profound conviction. I was not convinced, because I was an entrepreneur many years ago with my law firm, so I know what it is about. And a couple of years ago I didn’t want to be an entrepreneur anymore because I knew what it meant, and I wanted to be an employee, but nobody understood very well what I was talking about at that moment.

Kevin O’Keefe: Would you tell people to do it if they have that conviction?

Alejandra Figueiras: Yes, absolutely. It’s beautiful, it’s useful for people. It’s hard because you have to manage your own time and you have to do many things on your own at the beginning. But my aim is to hire people as soon as possible to help me and to grow this thing up.

Kevin O’Keefe: I wish you a lot of luck!

Alejandra Figueiras: Thank you, Kevin.