Welcome to another edition of Women in Tech! In this interview, we speak with Christina Salvo, the founder of legaltech platform, Simple Separation.
Christina’s innovative business challenges traditional family legal routes and provides a cost-effective and simplified service to protect the wellbeing of families. We discuss Christina’s inspiration for creating Simple Separation, the unique approach her platform takes to family law, and how she navigated challenges as a woman founder in the legaltech industry.
Christina also speaks to the importance of providing a cost-effective and simplified service for vulnerable individuals during family breakdowns and how Simple Separation can help address gender imbalance in traditional legal systems.
We also hear success stories from Simple Separation customers who have separated amicably and equitably using the platform, and Christina shares advice for other women interested in starting their own legaltech business or becoming involved in the industry more broadly.
Hi Christina, thanks for joining us today. What inspired you to create Simple Separation? Can you tell us more about the unique approach that your legaltech platform takes to family law?
I was inspired to create Simple Separation because I knew there was a more amicable and cost-effective way for couples to separate. For so many, family law can be adversarial and children can suffer the consequences. With Simple Separation, my purpose was to create a new pathway to protect the wellbeing of families.
Our approach is unique, in that we engage couples rather than taking on singular clients. We do this as typically our clients are on the same page in terms of what they want from the separation and are interested in minimising conflict within the family unit. Our service is also completely online, on a fixed fee, and we’ve designed it as such to provide a quick, stress-free, convenient and affordable experience.
As a woman founder in the legaltech industry, have you faced any particular challenges or obstacles? How have you navigated these challenges?
During concept development, the biggest challenge I faced was ensuring clients were receptive to Simple Separation being an online-based service provider. Separating, no matter how amicable, can be a stressful experience and I had to navigate how to communicate to clients that Simple Separation was a reliable and stress-free service, despite no in-person engagement.
Luckily for us, our clientele are driven by the convenient nature of our platform and have embraced our online approach. Being a fully online service means our clients don’t have to take time out of their days to attend meetings, sign papers, and finalise agreements. I certainly think the increase in digital adoption throughout the Covid pandemic has helped significantly in preparing the market for the rise of video conferencing.
During our consultations we explain to clients that our service offering is well-priced and on a fixed fee basis, rather than a billable hours model, making the process more efficient. Our service is suited to couples who have relatively simple matters and want a fair, quick, and convenient separation.
Simple Separation is dedicated to championing the rights of vulnerable individuals during family breakdowns. Can you speak more to the importance of providing a cost-effective and simplified service for those who may not have access to traditional legal systems?
The traditional legal pathway whereby both individuals seek their own legal representation can quite often promote conflict rather than contain it. Legal letters can be confronting, and lawyers are expensive as they mainly work on a billable hours model, making lengthy separations more economically rewarding.
Given many Australians don’t have the financial resources to afford legal representation, we have developed a model for the everyday person who wants a legal separation that is fair and financially accessible.
The gender imbalance within traditional legal systems is a well-known issue. In what ways do you think Simple Separation can help to address this imbalance?
At Simple Separation we’re proud to be a workplace that allows our team – both men and women – to seamlessly balance their personal and professional needs. The legal industry is a typically male-dominated field, however, at Simple Separation almost all of our lawyers and mediators are women.
A lot of these women have families and our business model allows them to work more flexibly, making it that much easier to balance family and work life. Being an online platform means our mediators can check in when they need to support clients without having to consider factors such as travel costs and childcare arrangements.
Can you share some success stories from Simple Separation customers who have used your platform to separate amicably and equitably? What impact has this had on them and their families?
Case study: Amanda
Amanda and her husband knew their 19-year marriage had run its course. Their separation was mutual and they wanted the legalities sorted as quickly, amicably, and cost effectively as possible.
“What appealed [about Simple Separation] the most was the simplicity…We could just get on with it without having to go through the drawn out process of sitting down for long meetings in offices and cross-checking everything. I thought it would take at least six months before we would even get started but we were legally separated in under three months. It was a ten out of ten on the speed and being able to take the angst and mental stress out of the procedure because it’s finalised and isn’t dragging on so it’s one thing we don’t have to worry about and helps us move on.”
Case Study: Maree
When Maree’s marriage of 25 years ended, she faced the daunting task of tackling her financial and property settlement. After more than two years of living apart from her husband, she knew it was time to close the chapter on her marriage but found navigating the financial process a challenge. Having consulted a solicitor when the relationship first ended, she found herself spooked by the system that seemed intent on pushing her into a complex, protracted and costly legal battle.
“I had always been the main income earner for the family and as a woman, the system didn’t seem well geared towards my circumstances. When I [researched Simple Separation], I thought ‘wow, they really understand what I’m going through’. They provided great support and made the whole process seem so much more manageable. What I liked most about working with Simple Separation is that they explained we can design our financial settlement on our teams – we are free to decide for ourselves how assets will be distributed and the terms of our binding financial agreement.”
What advice would you give to other women who are interested in starting their own legaltech business or becoming involved in the industry more broadly?
Embracing legal tech as automation will save you and your client time and money, as well as making the service accessible to more people. When creating the foundations of your business it’s important not to overwhelm your staff and clients with too much automation too quickly.
Keep it simple as you build your offering by automating the parts of your business that are repetitive to allow for better service – you will reap the benefits and your clients will love you for it.
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