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Disruptive innovation in legal services: Brandmeester develops new proposition
  • Brandmeester is a legal service provider that helps private persons in legal matters, including those who are uninsured

  • Consulting a lawyer may present too large of a threshold, both in terms of costs and the perceived social distance

  • Brandmeester disrupted the market by offering legal services at a fixed fee rather than the traditional hourly billing model

At a glance:

Affordable legal assistance 

Brandmeester may for instance help someone who was let go from their job, settle disagreements with the neighbors or personal injury. The legal service provider was created due to a request that came in from SRK Rechtsbijstand (SRK legal assistance). Initially, this was a claims law firm that also began providing legal assistance to uninsured clients. Due to the consolidation of the insurance market and fewer young people setting up insurance for legal expenses, Brandmeester began its search for new markets.


Client needs come first

Law tends to be a rather traditional market. People quickly dive into the matter itself, the severity of the legal issues and less into the person affected. To develop a disruptive proposition, a paradigm shift was necessary.

 

“People come to us in open panic. For a lawyer, this isn’t a very exciting situation but rather something they see every day. However, these are extremely tense circumstances for clients: your livelihood is gone, your income falls away, you are feeling rejected by your boss. Clients come to us with a strong need to regain control and predictability over their lives.”


Peter Hoitinga | Marketing Director at Brandmeester,

also involved in the company's founding


 

Predictability that empowers

An online platform helped make the process simple and predictable. Essentially a workflow with four clear steps, it also provides price predictability. Brandmeester foregrounded the predictability of working for insurance, combined with the fixed rate and the quality from the legal realm. The accessibility of services differentiates the company from the traditional legal sphere. Brandmeester fits between legal aid insurance and a traditional legal practice, also in part due to the understandable use of language and more informal feel.



 

“Many parties can help you make plans but realizing those plans is also important, this is where we made the difference with IG&H.”


Peter Hoitinga


 

Innovation headwind

When crafting a disruptive proposition, opposing forces will surface. For example, it was not permitted to have lawyers from Brandmeester work for uninsured clients. After discussions with the Dutch Bar Association (de Nederlandse orde voor advocaten) the company ultimately reached a point of approved experimentation for this proposition. Part of the subsequent success was consistency, both in the strategy and in the tactical execution. Brandmeester made sure to stay AGILE and have an always-be-learning mindset.


 

“Outside of Brandmeester, it was upsetting to see the small degree to which the legal market was ready to innovate, along with the arguments presented. How the market reacted and how little capacity for innovation existed knocked me off my chair. We’ve seen how socially important access to legal services is: For instance, with the Dutch childcare benefits scandal or the earthquake in Groningen. We now work for victims of long-covid in healthcare. We’ve seen just how essential and current legal aid is, but at the same time how services are lacking and not answering these unmet needs.”


Peter Hoitinga


 

Brandmeester views society from a slightly different perspective and fulfills its promise to clients with unwavering focus. With a certain level of democratization and social utility, the proposition is not only attractive to clients but also to employees.



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