LegalTech company Lawhive has raised £9.5 million in seed funding.

The startup aims to make it easier and more affordable for consumers and small businesses to access quality, expert legal help.

Led by GV, with participation from Episode 1 Ventures, the funding round follows a £1.5m investment in April 2022 which enabled the business to achieve rapid growth in the past 12 months.

Worth an estimated £25 billion, the UK consumer legal market has come under fire for its unaffordable costs and complex, jargon-heavy, and alienating processes. As a result, each year around four million individuals and one million businesses are left facing serious legal problems without any professional legal assistance. 

Lawhive operates an AI-powered platform for lawyers, who can work with their own clients or be matched with consumers and small businesses through the Lawhive marketplace. By using AI to handle many aspects of legal work, the Lawhive platform enables huge time-savings for lawyers and major cost and efficiency benefits for their clients. 

As a result, Lawhive is able to tackle a vast array of common legal matters that up until now have been the domain of traditional high street law firms. 

To date, Lawhive has helped thousands of consumers seeking support on a range of issues, from family and property disputes, to consumer rights and small business issues. 

Lawhive currently works with more than 100 solicitors and lawyers across the UK, and has built an operating system for consumer law that automates day-to-day, repetitive administrative tasks including KYC/AML, client onboarding and document collection.

At the centre of the Lawhive platform is an AI lawyer, Lawrence, built on top of Lawhive’s own LLM (large language model) which it says has demonstrated better results than any other LLM at carrying out legal work.

Lawrence successfully passed the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), scoring 81% against a pass mark of 55%. It is already able to carry out legal work at the level of a junior lawyer or paralegal, augmenting the work of senior lawyers, and leaving them to focus on handling the high value parts of a case as well as providing support to their client.

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Pierre Proner, CEO and co-founder of Lawhive, said: “Access to the law should be a basic right, available to everyone. Unfortunately this isn’t the case. Our vision is to combine AI and best-in-class lawyers to reduce the time and cost of providing high-quality legal support, increasing access for millions of people who need it.”

He added: “This isn’t about AI replacing humans. Our AI lawyer Lawrence is doing work that human lawyers don’t want to do and are wasting their valuable time doing. AI is allowing more people to access high-quality legal help from a qualified professional at an affordable price, while also allowing some of the country’s top lawyers to work more efficiently on the parts of the law that they enjoy, and earn more money doing so.”

The company plans to use the newly-raised funds to expand its team, and is hiring for a number of roles including AI engineers and software developers. 

Vidu Shanmugarajah, Partner at GV, said: “As a lawyer by training, I have experienced  firsthand how needed  technology-driven innovation is in the legal sector. 

“Lawhive represents a transformative shift for both lawyers and consumers.  Through combining a feature-rich platform with groundbreaking AI, Lawhive not only dramatically improves legal workflows but also makes high quality legal advice more accessible and affordable to a broader audience. 

“This investment underscores our belief in Lawhive’s potential to redefine the legal industry.”

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