Online Legal Services Are Growing, for Better or Worse
A dramatic shift is taking place in the technological world that has altered the environment in which lawyers operate. Much like the dinosaurs, some people speculate that certain law firms may face extinction.
What is this dramatic shift? The online provision of legal documents and services. Several companies now offer downloadable templates and tutorials for clients who want to pay less and do more. The Lawyers Weekly wrote a great article outlining a brief history and some of the key sceptics and defenders of this new era.
Defending the do-it-yourself approach, Jordan Furlong of Lawyers Weekly says “this is a growth industry for the future of the legal marketplace.” – The main demographic to benefit being small businesses and individuals who believe they can’t afford high-priced lawyers. Warren Smith of The Counsel Network calls this “the Wal-Mart of legal services,” and urges firms to incorporate this approach into their practice or seek strategic alliances.
Not everyone believes this service is all it’s cracked up to be. Daniel Lublin, Partner of Whitten and Lublin says it’s “a scam”. As the old adage goes, you get what you pay for. Cheap legal services can create the illusion of assurance, when in fact, people may be unknowingly missing key parts of the puzzle that could end up costing them dearly.
Since it is still virtually fresh on the market, popularity in online legal services will likely grow, but whether it sticks around will be determined by the reputation it garners. Competition will increase, and so too will the spectrum of quality in services. When it comes to anything beyond routine and simple procedures, it’s unlikely, and even dangerous to consider removing legal consultation from the equation.