Interview Moritz Delbrück – LTB
Moritz Delbrück is an accomplished and experienced
We are happy to have him on the Legal Tech Blog:
Micha-Manuel Bues: Hi Moritz, you are Managing Director at Justix. What is Justix’s mission?
Justix is a company-builder focused on firms that improve access to justice. Our platform hellolaw.com, for example, connects you with the best lawyer for your legal matters and simplifies all contacts to him or her: not only by offering fixed prices, secure documents, and appointment scheduling, but also, and more importantly, by ensuring an individualized and trustful relationship. In the end, we may not be able to change the law, but we can change how it feels.
So what exactly does Justix do? We identify the biggest opportunities in the legal tech field and use centralized IT, design, and business capabilities to test and launch companies that address those opportunities. We believe that in LegalTech, it’s still day one and the best is yet to come, so recruiting the best entrepreneurial and LegalTech talent is key for us.
Please give us a little bit of background. When was Justix founded? Who is “behind” it?
In 2016, ARAG and I were introduced to each other and had a series of interesting conversations on how they could offer more expansive legal services, including through digital means.
As a family-run company, ARAG has a sound reputation for being one of the most innovative insurance brands. The company runs a simple and clear digitization strategy. Almost pragmatic ARAG provides already a full range of cutting-edge digital services and solutions to its customers. In giving this dynamic development more pace, ARAG attempts not only to innovate legal services in-house by
When we launched Justix together in February
Why do you think Justix is important? What needs to change in legal service delivery?
In the legal services market it’s pretty obvious that there is a very strong need for better solutions: even in Europe, individuals and small businesses who have legal problems today struggle to find trusted legal help digitally, let alone at an affordable or fair price. And even when they do, it’s still likely to be an alienating and uncomfortable experience, not a delightful one. Meanwhile, legal experts struggle to get leads and process cases efficiently.
Of course, there are plenty of players in this market already: lead-generation platforms, service providers for lawyers etc., and they’ve done a great job getting the ecosystem to where it is today! However, in order to take the next step and really put the “tech” into “LegalTech”, cooperation between legal experts and IT experts must go far beyond what we’ve seen so far.
At Justix, legal and IT experts work side by side. Lawyers, developers, UX/UI experts, and marketers work cross-functionally to build Legal Tech services. We have a remarkably diverse team of 35 people representing 14 nationalities. This diversity produces incredibly original ideas and our culture of open collaboration enables us to work together in productive teams so that these ideas come to life.
Because of this, we take recruiting very, very seriously. The culture we are trying to build requires a mixture of personality and competencies that are not easily found. We invest a lot of time in vetting candidates and getting to know them, and once we are sure about someone we sink our teeth into it and move heaven and earth to get them on board.
So I believe with our strong tech- and culture-focus looking at international markets, the position of Justix is rather unique at the moment. And of course this is only doable because ARAG has such a strong international position across Europe, North America and now also Australia.
A personal question: You have founded and worked in many different industries during your career. You are not a lawyer yourself – Why did you take up the challenge to build a Legal Tech company?
Well, there are two reasons for this:
First, it’s a huge market with amazing opportunities where technology can still generate a significant impact and make people’s lives easier. The law and the “User Experience” of law is still breathtakingly bad – and improving people’s access to justice is something I can easily get behind. So if you can combine the morally reasonable with the economically practical, it’s not a difficult choice.
Second, the commerce, banking and insurance industries have experienced parallel changes in the last 10 to 15 years that the legal services industry is probably going to experience soon: the digitalization of products and processes, the shift to mobile, the development toward very few platforms connecting actors and acting as gatekeepers. I’ve had the privilege to participate in some of these developments and the rise of e-commerce, fintech and insurtech as a founder, investor, and advisor to fast-growing tech startups.
And of course, I was excited to start Justix together with a partner as great a match as ARAG, which has a strong foothold in the legal insurance business.
Justix is an international company. What countries are you currently active in? What trends, challenges and possibilities do you see in those markets?
We’re 35 people from 14 countries at Justix and 60+ at HelloLaw right now. Our position in the Netherlands is pretty strong and growing fast. In addition, we’ve dipped our toes into the Belgian, German and Italian markets with small tests already and might expand this soon. There are a few things we can do similarly across the different markets, and other expansion elements will take more time to tailor to the needs of local markets.
Localization is certainly a key challenge and also the reason why there is no single dominant legal tech platform in Europe yet: each country not only speaks a different language and has a different culture, but each country has different laws, as well as different laws pertaining to legal tech companies themselves and how they can or cannot operate! Some markets allow legal techs to sell leads to lawyers; others don’t. Some markets allow non-lawyer legal experts to work directly with clients via legal tech platforms; others don’t. I assume that for US players like RocketLawyer and LegalZoom or Avvo, expansion into Europe is viewed as difficult because businesses don’t scale here as easily as they do in large homogenous markets like the US. But for a European company with a European team, this challenge is just accepted from day one as part of the plan. Challenges like these are great opportunities to turn adversity into advantage.
You are currently actively recruiting and looking for a variety of new employees. What kind of characters are a perfect fit for Justix and why?
We are continuously looking for outstanding new team members, both in Legal and in Tech. I’m particularly interested in past experiences where people have been outliers already, in any domain, and what they learned. The more you learn, the more you understand how incredibly complex reality is and how little we actually know. So our culture at Justix is based on continuous learning, collaboration, responsibility and being humble about it.
I have learned from experience that the most important factor determining the success or failure of any business is the people that come together each day to work in it. A mediocre team will fail to execute on the best business models, while a great team will succeed in turning even mediocre business models into successes.
I don’t believe that a traditional management approach will build a successful digital business in a competitive market like Legal Tech. Our philosophy at Justix is that everyone has to be the CEO of their own share of the company and accept the responsibilities and opportunities that come with it.
We want to be a StartUp for adults. What I mean by this is that everybody who joins here is expected to carry their own weight. We don’t have time for micromanagement. Our most successful hires have been professionals who on day one were unafraid to take ownership of tasks and implement solutions, even if they are risky. We are looking for curious minds with an entrepreneurial sense that don’t need someone telling them what to do because they are intrinsically motivated to be excellent.
But while this does sound like fun, there is also a caveat! We are constantly under pressure to perform and sometimes very fundamental things about our business change overnight. That can be exhausting and very challenging mentally, so people should be aware that there is a fair amount of resilience required to get through those times. If you cannot set boundaries for yourself, the work can easily overwhelm you, so I’d say that is also very important – to be self-aware and manage yourself constantly.
We are always looking for new people to join us, our open positions can be found under https://www.justix.net/open-positions/
Thanks for the interview, Moritz!