Unlocking Egypt’s Complex Judicial System

How technology is changing the legal sector.
Unlocking Egypt’s Complex Judicial System
Avocato is increasing access to legal services in Egypt and the MENA region.

Finding a lawyer in Egypt can be a complicated process considering the numerous different legal areas and institutions. The legal industry itself is old-fashioned, having not kept up with technological advancements and in need of modernization. Additionally, the various legal shifts which Egypt has gone through have produced a complex system of judicial governing bodies. To make matters worse many Egyptians struggle to find reliable and affordable lawyers. Avocato is trying to address this problem by digitizing legal representation in Egypt through its simple, free mobile application.

Founded in 2018, Avocato is the first mobile app in the Middle East that allows users to seek quick and immediate legal consultation. Users simply download the app, select the type of lawyer they want and where, and the app immediately connects to the right lawyer in seconds. The app currently offers a wide selection of services, where users can receive consultation over the phone concerning any legal issues they may have, or requesting immediate emergency representation available 24 hours a day, where a lawyer will meet them in person immediately. 

Ahmed Omar, one of Avocato’s co-founders, says their application solves one of the biggest obstacles in Egypt. Additionally, Ahmed stated that, “roughly one in three Egyptians don’t seek proper advice when it comes to a legal dispute, and they consult their friends and family instead. Avocato makes it easier and quicker for anyone to find the lawyer they need.”

Would You Seek a Lawyer Through an App?

The legal industry in Egypt has not changed in 40 years. How do you think Avocato will change legal services in the region? اڤوكاتو – Avocato#wayamedia

Posted by WAYA Media on Wednesday, December 25, 2019

So far, the app has amassed a growing lawyer base: there are over 450 specialist lawyers available across all of Egypt’s governorates, serving over 500 clients ranging from individuals to major corporations. The app also has another major benefit. Omar describes how 95% of Egyptian lawyers deal with regular cases and disputes that are not well-paid. While the remaining 5% represent major corporations on an international level. Avocato enables lawyers to take on cases that are not only better paid but allow them to truly put their legal abilities to the test. Mohammed Rashad is one of Avocato’s lawyers and says that one of the biggest benefits of the app is the option to represent his clients remotely. Based in Cairo, Rashad can represent clients in Alexandria if he’s unable to travel to them in time. According to him, the app solves the largest problem facing Egypt’s legal industry – connecting clients with the right type of lawyers.

“We are trying to change the foundation of society by getting them to seek legal services online. Avocato makes it easier and quicker for anyone to find the lawyer they need.”

Ahmed Omar, Co-founder, Avocato

Digital Transformation of the Legal Industry Is Increasing Around the World

Globally, the legal industry has been slow to keep up with the latest technological innovations. According to Gartner, only 19% of legal teams in the United States are ready to support enterprise digital efforts. However, the global sector is putting more resources into digitizing its legal services. For example, in the United Kingdom around 1 in 6 barristers have started using mobile and cloud collaboration tools. 

Additionally, Artificial Intelligence and automation are predicted to have transformational effects in the industry, both positive and negative. The Law Society estimates that in the UK, 67,000 legal jobs will be automated by 2038 while 80,000 new legal roles will be created by 2028. A study by the Bucerius Law School in Germany predicts that 30-50% of a law firm’s work could be performed by software in the future.

While Avocato doesn’t have a large role in the global transformation of law, they’re certainly an example of how digital tools could eliminate existing issues in legal systems. Going forward the company hopes to offer its app abroad and they plan to expand into Saudi Arabia next, followed by the Gulf. Omar says there is a strong demand for quality representation across the Middle East. In Egypt alone a divorce is filed every four minutes, showing the need for quality and effective lawyers. They hope their app and digital services will change the culture surrounding legal representation in Egypt, encouraging anyone to seek the advice they need and avoid potential further legal disputes.

If you see something out of place or would like to contribute to this story, check out our Ethics and Policy section.