What are your commitments in Legit? How long have you been working on this initiative?
I have been working on Legit for about a year now. I started by participating in Founders Bootcamp at the Innovation Centre Kosovo and the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs. In the Bootcamp, I won the possibility for virtual incubation at the ICK, and at AWE I won the prize as a winning startup idea. These two experiences helped me kick off entrepreneurship and leave my full-time job as a legal associate in a law firm to launch my start-up and freelance work.
In the beginning, I focused on creating a brand identity and website where I could talk about Legit and raise awareness about what it is and what it stands for. During this time, I built the initial website with my modest skills, created the social media channels and content and I have tried to increase the audience and study the market ever since. The biggest impact I have tried to deliver so far has been to help lawyers find jobs - by publishing legal vacancies regularly, and entrepreneurs and innovators - by publishing short informative blogs on the legal issues of business like intellectual property, incorporation, employment, consumer protection, and alike matters.
Parallelly, I work as a freelance lawyer - mainly with tech startups in Albania and Kosovo - which is a great experience for me because it keeps me highly in touch and informed about the challenges of entrepreneurship and technology. In this regard, I always approach my work as a learning experience for my business venture and to truly understand the struggles of an entrepreneur so that I serve them best through building Legit and taking legal services to a new digitized level.
How did your interest in this field begin? What was the initial push?
Afers studying corporate law, I was working as a business lawyer/solicitor in Tirana. I found myself very often frustrated with the elements of the legal industry in our country and the lack of many simple - yet absent - services both for me as a lawyer and for my clients. In the meantime, I had been exposed to legal tech concepts and law firms as businesses in my studies at the University of Cambridge, hence I knew that there were tools, or possibilities to create tools, which make aspects of legal services easier and efficient for all parties involved. During quarantine, I had more time to reflect and focus on such ‘pains’ I had during my practice as a lawyer and decided to start working to bring the change I was always expecting from others.
What has changed and how have things changed since the beginning?
Since Fall 2020, I left my full-time job as a legal associate. I now work as a freelancer and have more control over the time and tasks I undertake. As said above, I have approached my job as a learning experience and through working with tech startups I have learned how to build and grow Legit better.
In addition, I have been exposed a lot to the start-up community in Albanian and Kosovo. I have gained invaluable mentors and partners who have provided me with both advice and financial support to kick off this venture.
Also, I no longer am working on my own at Legit. I have a small, but very dedicated, team that is working hard and independently to get us to the next level - which is the launch of the platform and to educate the Albanian markets for this innovative way of getting legal services.
What are the biggest obstacles you faced in developing a business/selling products?
There have been and still are a few challenges and obstacles. To begin with, access to finances/ investment opportunities is virtually impossible in our ecosystem - this then comes with a series of challenges that range from time to talent scarcity. I have to work parallelly to build and grow Legit and to hire a team to support me. This limitation in resources has slowed us down a bit.
Another challenge is finding talented and like-minded people. This has been a challenge both for the legal part and the tech part. The legal education and profession in Albania traditionally is not very open-minded and is strictly seen in the lens of litigation - needless to say, it has been tricky to find talented youngsters who would be as excited as I about bringing forth this new, easy way of providing digital and scaled legal services. Many lawyers see legal tech as either foolish or threatening, and such lawyers naturally exist even in our ecosystem. (We fear not such attitudes, because the future of law - as for most professions - is digitalization and artificial intelligence, which are not to be feared but rather approached and understood how to work to our best advantage.)
On the other hand, it was difficult to find developers who would also understand the mission and vision and get on board with some entrepreneurial spirit to build the platform.
However, I have now established my core team and I am very happy and grateful for them. I like where we are going, and whether we are slow or not, we have not stopped making progress. Every step counts!
How much were you affected by the pandemic and where did it have the most harmful effect specifically?
I embraced the pandemic as a great opportunity to bring legal services into the digital world, so instead of an obstacle, it was more of a catalyst for creating Legit.
What are your future plans?
The short-term plans involve launching Legit v.01, getting our first beta testers and eventual users to monetize the web platform. Then, I hope to open Legit for investment opportunities that would help us scale and grow as a product and as a team. The vision is to be the go-to legal platform for legal services in Albania and Kosovo, but we wouldn’t shy away from the regional and international markets either.
How much and how has the fact of being a woman in business affected you?
As far as it is objectively possible, I don’t like to relate to my gender in the professional realm. The fact is that I have always worked with and learned a lot from male colleagues. Even in my entrepreneurial journey my best mentors and supporters are male colleagues or clients who have trusted me to provide services to them and grow my own business as well. So overall, I would not say that being a woman has had a negative impact on my business - at least not so far.
I do, however, have an (I hope not biased) inclination to engage more female employees - maybe this is expected in a female-dominated legal ecosystem (referring to university auditors), which sadly enough is not reflected outside the academic realm where the real power and ‘justice’ is delivered predominantly by male figures.
Do you have any advice for young women who want to engage in business or further develop their careers?
Advice is a tricky word. It can be wrongly received by those who are not ready for it. However, I will try to summarize in a sentence how this new entrepreneurial experience has felt to me. It has been: scary at the first jump, excited at the spread of the wings, turbulent during the flight, yet always grateful for the freedom and determined for the growth. So, just go for what you believe! #NoRegrets