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Σάββατο, 27 Οκτωβρίου 2012

Google’s Investment in Rocket Lawyer Will Accelerate the Google Maps-ization of Law (?)


Google’s Investment in Rocket Lawyer Will Accelerate the Google Maps-ization of Law

Aug 11, 2011, 10:40 am CDT


1. The more interesting question for me, Paul, is whether Internet based providers of legal services will compete and perhaps replace traditional law firms.  It’s certainly serendipitous that alongside your interesting piece is an ad for legalzoom.com. Rocket Lawyers and Legalzoom.com may pose a real and present danger to the practice of law as we know it. See: http://kowalskiandassociatesblog.com/2011/08/11/are-law-firms-going-to-be-replaced-by-internet-based-providers-of-legal-services/
By Jerome Kowalski on 2011 08 12, 10:01 am CDT

2. I"m waiting for the first state conviction of one of these firms for practicing law without a license. If such a conviction were upheld, it would spell the end of internet law, as bar associations would pressure state legislatures to inact laws that actually put a stop to it.
By Joe on 2011 08 12, 10:08 am CDT

3. Every state and the District of Columbia has a law criminalizing the unlicensed practice of law.  Every regulator and every prosecutor has seen dozens of ads for these providers.  There is even such an ad to the immediate right of this piece.
These providers have become too big and too potent, I am afraid, for any agency to take them on.  Perhaps, already too big to fail.
By Jerome Kowalski on 2011 08 12, 10:17 am CDT

4. What so many outside the profession fail to realize is that the value of good attorneys is in ascertaining and addressing (effectively) sui generis issues and problems, which no algorithm aimed at standardization and aggregation can perform.  This could be a field day for litigators.
By Scott Shepard on 2011 08 12, 12:07 pm CDT

5. The concerns of unauthorized practice are well founded, but that will be a matter for the states to address.  For us, the attorneys, the questions should be: why are these services so popular with consumers?  What demands must be so unsatisfied by our services that they feel the need to patronize these services?  And finally, how can we take a page out of the books of Legal Zoom or Rocket Lawyer to bring greater standardization, predictability, and transparency into our own practices, in the hopes of satisfying consumer demand?
By BeiBei on 2011 08 12, 12:37 pm CDT

6. I wonder:  Could an internet service have imagined, executed and effected the result in Brown v Board of Education?  or any one of the thousand other examples great and small where the law has been changed for good or ill?
By Observer on 2011 08 12, 1:03 pm CDT

7. Internet services are popular with consumers because of price, primarily, and secondarily because of the opacity of information about the quality and integrity of individual lawyers.  Price is by far the most important.  If I charge $2,500 to form an LLC and Legal Zoom does it for a fraction of the cost, I will not get the business in 95% of situations.  In fact, I tell clients that they can go to Internet and do it for a fraction of the cost, but most stick with me anyway—because they already found me and learned a bit about me in the initial contact.  The situation consumers fear is hiring an unknown lawyer and then ending up with a bill for $7,000 for a job that cost a few hundred or less online.  The sophisticated work will always need a human lawyer, but this commodity work is mostly gone already.  When I was a kid, we could go to a drugstore and buy a pre-printed form for a will or living trust anyway, so have things really changed?
By another observer on 2011 08 12, 2:40 pm CDT

8. I have not heard any law in India or China requiring US state bar admission to practice US law while in those countries. Practitioners, especially in India, are already handling much US law via crowd-sourcing sites. Their clients are typically small- to medium-sized US businesses.
By Crowdsourced on 2011 08 12, 4:28 pm CDT

9. I meant to add that Legalzoom can thus just move offshore if charged with practicing law without a license. Many entrepreneurs are quite blunt that one of the major components of value of the internet it the ability to use it to circumvent state and national laws and taxes.
By Crowdsourced (continued) on 2011 08 12, 4:33 pm CDT

10. I think this service will actually boost lawyers by bringing in more work. When people use this service, This service is no substitute for a real lawyer. I think people will use it to find legal pitfalls, vulnerabilities and loopholes they are exposed to, and that will prompt them to hire a lawyer to deal with those in circumstances where they would otherwise not have hired a lawyer.
By SPM on 2011 08 13, 1:36 am CDT

11. And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time,
‘fore touchdown brings me ‘round again to find . . .
By B. McLeod on 2011 08 13, 1:51 am CDT
Why do you have to wait for the state to sue - why can’t a lawyer or law firm sue these providers themelves on the civil end?
By steve on 2011 08 14, 7:24 pm CDT

12. It is ironic that the legal profession, which has done so much to help technology innovators (and has made lots of money in the process), is so afraid of what this innovation offers. Lawyers (and I am a lawyer) should stop mystifying their profession and should instead focus on the real value-added services they can offer their clients. To charge clients ridiculous fees for a simple document such asan NDA, to provide a common example, is not a noble pursuit.
By Dave on 2011 08 15, 11:06 am CDT

13. more work for me.  Inevitably, when a client does it themselves, they screw up and need a lawyer for a lot more than they did in the first place.  Would you read pubmed and consider yourself a competent doctor?  I think not.
By jack on 2011 08 15, 2:32 pm CDT

14. There’s a lot to be said for simplification and standardization; after all, NCCUSL has been trying to simplify and standardize state laws for years.  The resultant uniform codes have saved businesses and individuals untold billions in legal fees by avoiding the need to have lawyers draft and review the same types of documents over and over again.
Sites like Rocket Lawyer and LegalZoom make money by catering to a specific segment of society:  The do-it-yourself crowd.  Folks who think they can download a standard will and trust form and do their own estate planning; who think that by filing a state trademark they are being smart; who think securities laws are just an irritant and who will raise money for their business by downloading a private placement memorandum template and maybe reading a little about Reg D or Rule 147.  Sites like Rocket Lawyer and LegalZoom encourage people to become do-it-yourselfers by leading them to think they can save money by using “document vending machines” to meet their legal needs.  Documents become mere commodities, purged of any legal context or legal counsel.
The second way these sites make money is by treating both lawyers and clients as commodities, making both pay to be referred to each other (while carefully skirting rules banning referral fees).  Lawyers who are willing to claim that they will offer “discounted” legal fees—a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct (see Comment 4 to Rule 7.1)—pay for the privilege of getting clients who, after having decided they can’t quite do it themselves, have paid the website a small sum and expect unlimited services for next to nothing in return.  That free consultation could easily take an hour.  Those are clients I can do without.
It seems to me that a smart client will consult his/her/its regular counsel first regarding whatever their legal situation is.  If documents are to be involved, counsel can point them to appropriate models and let the clients do a draft if they wish.  The attorney can review and revise the result.  Frankly, I have thousands of model documents on file; most firms do.  My clients are welcome to use them now at no charge without having to pay Rocket Lawyer or anyone else.
You get what you pay for.
By critical rationalist on 2011 08 16, 1:15 pm CDT

15. Take a look at Richard Susskind’s book entitled “The End of Lawyers?  Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services” (Oxford University Press, 2008).
Mr. Susskind, who is both a lawyer and a professor in the U.K., has written the following series of books, and has been right so far in virtually all of his predictions:
    Expert Systems in Law   1987
  The Future of Law     1996
  Transforming the Law   2000
  The End of Lawyers?  2008
Take a look also at www.legalonramp.com, a collaboration service primarily for inhouse counsel, but expanding.  The author of the above article on Google/Rocket Lawyer is CEO of LegalOnRamp.
In addition, review the response by counsel for LegalZoom to an opinion issued by the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee in 2010.  It addresses the issues about as squarely as I have seem them addressed to date.
There is a sea change happening in the legal profession.  Lawyers can “elevate their games” and meet the evolving expectations of their clients by embracing the same kinds of work-flow technology being used by LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer (then add, where appropriate, the essential legal analysis that lawyers are uniquely trained to provide).
Finally, for some powerful work-flow, expert systems technology, take a look at Neota Logic (www.neotalogic.com).  Note in particular the topics that Neota’s CEO Michael Mills will be presenting this week (8/22 and 8/23) at the ILTA (International Legal Technology Association) Annual Conference for 2011 in Nashville, TN:
  Future-Proofing Your Law Firm
  Transformation Through Emerging Technologies
We’re all in for quite a ride as the future gets closer and closer.
By Vince Lackner on 2011 08 21, 4:08 pm CDT

16. A little more Susskin, and less Susskind.
By B. McLeod on 2011 08 22, 12:27 am CDT

17. B. McLeod - can you clarify?

18. By Vince Lackner on 2011 08 22, 9:46 am CDT

I agree with 14 and 15.
By Pandora Manolidi-Greece on 2011 08 23, 7:12 pm CDT

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