Lauren Riley
Ellen Forster

Interview: Ex-Apprentice star brings problem-solving tech to the law sector

Family solicitor turned tech entrepreneur, Lauren Riley spoke to Bdaily’s associate editor, Ellen Forster, about her problem-solving app, her time on BBC’s The Apprentice and her plans for the future.

Celebrating its first birthday this month, The Link App, brainchild of former Apprentice star Lauren Riley, aims to connect lawyers with their clients and save time in the process.

As a qualified solicitor specialising in family law, Lauren experienced first-hand the difficulties facing law firms in an increasingly competitive and technology-focused marketplace.

“In my experience, law firms have been very ready to accept change.”

“The idea was born out of listening to the frustrations of lawyers who were finding productivity suffer at the hands of client communication,” Lauren told me. “Lawyers, traditionally, weren’t very strong in communicating with clients. There was a gap between lawyer and client that needed filling - that’s where The Link App comes in.”

Lauren believed an app would be the perfect medium to help lawyers save time while improving communication networks with clients. The Link App started out as an idea and was launched in London in August 2014.

For Lauren, The Apprentice seemed like the ideal way to raise both her own profile, and that of The Link App.

“Although I didn’t win The Apprentice, the exposure and feedback I have received was invaluable. I took the six months between between filming and broadcasting to develop the business, so that when I was ‘fired’, I was able to talk about a real, working business.” Lauren said, “We gained a lot of recognition from the legal sector and the business snowballed from there.”

Lauren’s revenue model is simple - law firms pay a fee to access the app, and clients are able to use the service for free. The companies are charged a nominal annual fee and then they pay on a case-by-case basis, meaning The Link App is accessible for law firms of all sizes.

“This is the prime time to release a technology-based company into that space.”

The Apprentice was also a way for Lauren to boost her own profile, she explained: “The things I have been able to branch into, as a result of appearing on the show, have also helped the business grow,

“I’m a public speaker - from motivational, entrepreneurial stories to the technical law speaking, I have gained a wide range of experiences in this area.

“I’m also a blogger, this helps to develop my presence both in the legal and business sectors online.”

When asked about the attitudes towards technology in her target market, Lauren reckons lawyers get a “bad rep”.

“In my experience, law firms have been very ready to accept change. I think there is a lot of pressure to the industry as a whole with issues like changes to legal aid, the rise of price comparison websites… there are a lot of external factors that are causing law firms to take another look.

“This is the prime time to release a technology-based company into that space.”

The self-funded venture is currently in talks with investors to support its ongoing growth and allow Lauren to take The Link App to law firms all over the country.

“The Link App is my priority as we continue to focus on raising funds in the coming months,” Lauren concluded, “I want to take the fantastic start that The Link App has had, in terms of brand recognition and interest from professional sectors, and converting them into clients.”

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