Law Practice Management and Technology

The Bottom Line Volume 33, No. 4, August 2012

MCLE Self-Study Article: Technology and the Uneven Playing Field: How Ethics Rules Are Preventing Lawyers from Using Technology to Serve their Clients

Rich Goldstein

Technology has enabled clever entrepreneurs to adapt quickly to the changing needs of consumers, and to deliver to consumers the service they need, when and how they want it, and at a price that is appropriate for each market segment.

Legal services of all kinds are now being offered using technology. Systems allow a customer to quickly assemble routine documents using a simple Web interface that asks key questions, inserts the answers, and delivers the completed documents in minutes. Expert systems are used to create somewhat more complex legal documents by asking questions about the customer’s needs and choosing the appropriate documents. Search services deliver patent searches, legal record searches, and more.

Many consumers are finding these systems to be great alternatives to the traditional process of hiring a lawyer, especially when the task is fairly routine, and when they couldn’t otherwise afford to hire counsel.

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