Monday 9 May 2016 11:58 am

It's like Airbnb, but for lawyers: New online platform for legal market due to launch in the summer

The legal eagles have soared into the sharing economy, as Lawyers On Demand has today announced that it is launching an online marketplace for legal services.

Spoke will allow businesses looking to build their in-house teams or law firms looking for some extra help to hire lawyers who have some spare hours that are not currently being used for anything chargable.

The marketplace will launch in July, by which time Lawyers On Demand hopes to have at least 500 lawyers signed up to offer services. 

"The so-called 'gig economy' has allowed lawyers and legal teams to have flexibility and control over how they work and Spoke signals another stage in the new law evolution," said Simon Harper, co-founder of Lawyers on Demand and creator of Spoke.

"The big law firm was one way for lawyers to work that grew out of the twentieth century. Spoke is about harnessing what the twenty-first century has to offer."

Read more: Can the sharing economy solve our productivity puzzle?

Tom Hartley, chief executive of the Lawyers On Demand group, added: "Spoke uses technology to open up opportunities to engage in a new way but is still based on great people offering great service. It’s about giving more control to a wider group of lawyers over how they work and providing greater choice for clients in the way they resource their needs."

Research released last year by McKinsey & Company forecast that the sharing economy – which is currently made up of platforms such as TaskRabbit, Uber and Airbnb with more names constantly being added to the list – could add $2.7 trillion (£1.9 trillion) to the global economy by 2025. 

Read more: How to navigate taxes if you work in the sharing economy

Meanwhile, research by JP Morgan published earlier this year discovered that 2.5m people were making money by participating in the sharing economy every month.

Last month, the Office for National Statistics announced that it would be taking steps to include information from the UK's sharing economy in its data.