Separate the Wheat from the Chaff: Yvonne Wakefield from Caveat Legal

Separate the Wheat from the Chaff: Yvonne Wakefield from Caveat Legal


How do you take a competitive, pressurised, demanding, expensive and inflexible industry and turn it into a high quality service that is accessible and affordable for clients and appealing for employees and consultants? You do what Yvonne Wakefield, founder of Caveat Legal did: Strip it to its bare essentials.

The offering

Challenge: In a competitive industry you must have a unique selling point that makes you stand out from the crowd. You must be able to offer a quality product or service at a price your target market is prepared to pay in a manner that makes them feel they have received value for their money.

“For Caveat Legal, the solution was to strip the business model to its bare essentials. Legal firms get expensive because of high overheads and large support staff. In our model, attorneys are independent consultants and many work from home, meaning we could offer the same mind power and experience as large firms at around half the price.”

The market

Challenge: Every business is fundamentally limited by the size and quality of the market it attempts to serve. Without customers, you have no business, no matter how great the idea is.

“I recognised a large untapped market and wanted to find a way to access it. Our market research revealed a growing SME sector looking for affordable, quality, ‘pay-as-you-eat’ legal services, but that in-house legal staff and large firms were perceived as too expensive. The challenge was coming up with a business model that would allow us to charge reduced consultant rates for a quality service.” The answer? Experienced attorneys who were looking for flexibility and autonomy.

The differentiator

Challenge: Finding your differentiator is like separating the wheat from the chaff. Do you offer stand-out quality, cost-effectiveness or time-saving to your client that separates you from the competition, that fulfils a need, and creates real value?

“Our business model allows for a rate that is around half of the status quo, without sacrificing quality. From a client benefit perspective, they’re given a selection of consultants to choose from. We then do all invoicing and are completely transparent with billing. Clients know exactly how much they pay consultants and how much they pay us.”

Value capture

Challenge: You’ve identified a market and a means to meet that need, but how do you make money?

In the case of Caveat Legal it’s through an all-round win-win situation: High quality professionals are given the flexibility and autonomy without having to look for clients. SMEs have access to experts at a price point they’re willing to pay, and Caveat Legal is 100% transparent in its invoicing, adding a 20% service fee for the pairing of clients with consultants.

Vital stats

  • Player: Yvonne Wakefield
  • Company: Caveat Legal
  • Est: 2011
  • X-Factor: A solution for how to make premium services available to a price-sensitive market.
  • Contact:;
Tracy Lee Nicol
Tracy-Lee Nicol is an experienced business writer and magazine editor. She was awarded a Masters degree with distinction from Rhodes university in 2010, and in the time since has honed her business acumen and writing skills profiling some of South Africa's most successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, franchisees and franchisors.Find her on Google+.