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See Presentation on this topic here. The legal document preparation industry has been around since the early 1990’s and has remained essentially the same, except a significant portion has moved online. It is a fast growing industry. What is the “legal document preparation industry”? The industry is composed of non-lawyers who assist consumers and small business in preparing legal forms, but without providing any legal advice or doing any custom drafting. The “Scrivener Exception” to…
In 2009, I started a company called DirectLaw.com, that provided client-centered technologies to solos and small law firms. Full Disclosure: the company still exists today but I sold my interest in 2017. At about the same time other other cloud-based practice management companies started up, such as Clio, RocketMatter, and MyCase that targeted the automation of the back-office operations of the law firms such as matter and client management, calendaring, timekeeping, invoicing,…
By a “legal product” we mean an online consumer-facing digital application (software), for sale or free, that substitutes for the work of an attorney. A legal product offers a legal solution to a legal problem through software and automated processes. A key difference between a product and a service is that a product can be produced and distributed at scale, while services are delivered on a one to one basis There are software applications that…
TIKD is a start-up based in Coral Gables, Florida created by Christopher Riley, not a member of the Florida Bar, which provides a technology platform and financial guarantee for drivers who have received a traffic ticket. The Service is offered in four Florida counties and in four other states. The Florida Bar sued TIKD to put it out of business under the theory that the service constituted “the unauthorized practice of law.” How It Works…
How is it that a publisher that sells or distributes online legal software for consumers is now considered the “practice of law” in the State of Tennessee? Under a new regulatory scheme to be adopted by the Tennessee legislature, the publisher of a website that offers interactive legal forms to consumers will be considered the practice of law, unless the publisher complies with the requirements of the proposed statute. Non-compliance means the publisher is “subject…
Online legal document providers would be regulated under a resolution proposed by the New York State Bar Association and the New York County Lawyers Association to the American Bar Association for approval at its Annual Meeting in Chicago this August. The proposal was submitted without providing an opportunity for comment and review by interested parties and other ABA entities. An , which discusses in detail the most objectionable aspects of the proposed regulation. Under the…
Under the guise of consumer protection, North Carolina has passed new legislation, at the direction of the North Carolina Bar, that imposes restrictions on distributing self-help legal software over the Internet. Rather than protecting consumers, this legislation is a frightened response by the North Carolina Bar to protect their lawyer’s incomes from the impact of advances in Internet technology that provide new ways for people to solve their legal problems at low cost. The restrictions…
A Happy and Healthy New Year to everyone. Its 2018, a new year and time for a change. Since about 2000 I have been working on the concept of online legal services and “elawyering”. Since about 2000 I have been working on the concept of online legal services and “elawyering”. Beginning in 2000, I co-chaired the American Bar Association’s eLawyering Task Force, with my colleague Marc Lauritsen, publishing articles about the eLawyering concept,…
LegalZoom® which started as a legal document web site based on individual transactions is gradually shifting towards a new business model based upon recurring revenue. Under the guidance of Premira, a private equity fund and now the majority shareholder of LegalZoom®, the company has launched a legal plan that adds legal advice to the purchase of its documents. Premira, is a specialist in helping companies create recurring revenue streams, it’s most recent success being…
Marc Andreessen quipped in 2011: “Software is eating the world”. The legal profession is not immune from this development. Law has a high information component. In a large sense, law is information or as Bill Palin, the young lawyer who won the ABA’s Legal Hackathon at last year’s ABA Annual Meeting, says, Law is Code. We are already seeing how Andreesen’s prediction is working its way through the legal profession. If you want to learn…