Queensland College of Law student Sean Roche initially created Lawfunder as a platform allowing fundraisers to pay back funds to investors in claims that may generate a hefty settlement, saving fundraisers from facing expensive loans.
But when he discovered the grossly exorbitant fees that most crowdfunding platforms charge already underfunded community legal centres, he decided to create a two pronged approach to legal funding.
Having launched in June, Lawfunder now functions as a commission-free donation platform, as well as a conscious investment platform, where investors can potentially make their money back.
“I thought, if you’re working for essentially a charity, a not-for-profit legal centre, it’s a bit unethical for the fundraising portals that exist to take 10 per cent from someone who’s only trying to help,” he said.
“I’ve got the skills to put this together and not charge a cent.”
Currently, the users of Lawfunder are community legal centres, predominately in Queensland. The site works with QAILS
Roche, who graduated Queensland University of Technology with a Bachelor of Laws back in March, had the idea to put fundraisers seeking legal funding in one place, in the hope of generating further funds.
“It’s an attempt to draw all the legal issues together,” he said.
“It puts people with common interests in the same spot.”
While charging no fees means he runs the website at a loss at the moment, he said there is the potential for him to make money from the investment side of the business in the future.
“I suppose I’m just waiting for someone to take a crack,” Roche said.
“I think there’s potential for a lot more if people knew about it.”