Onyango Owor is a partner at Onyango & Company Advocates

A Ugandan law firm Onyango &Co Advocates has become the first in the country and Africa to launch virtual operations meant to offer clients convenient and unique ways to access legal services through online platforms.

Located on Ggaba road, the firm says its virtual operation will enable clients to use technological means to consult online and purchase legal documents using mobile money and visa payment platforms.

‘‘The firm has put in place a secure and safe online environment on its website through which clients can in privacy consult our lawyers and buy a wide-range of legal documents,’’ said Onyango Owor, the partner in charge of strategy & growth at the firm.

‘‘The lockdown due to Covid-19 has meant that people can’t access legal services and those that can face difficulties due to restrictions on movement,’’ added Onyango. ‘‘The new product from our firm addresses these challenges and harnesses the opportunities provided by technological tools to make legal services accessible to clients from the comfort of their homes and offices.’’

Onyango & Co Advocates has been in operations for the last 10 years. The firm has successfully handled several commercial, transactional and constitutional cases including the recent win before the constitutional court that led to striking down of sections of the Public Order Management Act (POMA) which critics say gives excessive powers to police to accept or deny public gatherings from taking place.

Virtual services

Among legal documents that can be bought off the firm’s website are land sales agreements, car sales agreements, employment contracts, partnership deeds, memorandum and articles of Association, tenancy agreements, Human Resource documents and Wills. Users can also consult lawyers using instant chat and a video -conferencing features on the website.

The virtual law firm service users will have to go to the firm website and then click the virtual law firm tab which will lead them to the firm’s online services. One will be required to register and create an account using their email addresses; a one time password will be sent to their email address which can then be changed by the user. Thereafter, the user can access online consultation services as well as purchase legal documents.

To consult a lawyer online, one will have to choose the consultation option, choose a lawyer they would like to consult basing on their profiles and the language they speak. The user will then book an appointment by choosing an appropriate date and time which is then booked automatically into the lawyer’s online diary.

The user then proceeds to pay by filling in their billing details and choosing the option to either pay by mobile money or credit card. A user may choose to pay for legal services manually storing Airtel money using the firm’s merchant code.

The same process will be followed to purchase a legal document.

The law firm says, beginning May 20th 2012, will train lawyers on the practical aspects of using technology in providing legal services and sell law frim management and virtual law systems to lawyers in Uganda and across Africa.

Uganda has 19 million internet users according to data from the World Internet Statistics. The burgeoning internet use offers opportunities for businesses to better serve clients and penetrate new markets.

A virtual law firm does not have a physical office but uses technological means. Onyango & Co Advocates says it is combining physical presence and technological capabilities to complement each to other to better serve existing and new clients.

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