Justis

Articles filed under Legal services

This Conveyance

It is probably easier for companies to sell legal services and documents online than it is for firms of solicitors. This may seem unfair, given that the ultimate product (eg a divorce or a conveyance) was originally created by lawyers to protect the client. How can it be that non-lawyers can do it better?

In an article that I wrote for the March/April issue of this Newsletter, I described four reasons why I thought it was hard for a firm of solicitors to provide these products or services online. I said that:

  1. These products are technically difficult, requiring sophisticated (and expensive) software to do the job online, and considerable ongoing technical support.
  2. They are inherently risky for the firm in professional terms. Errors or misunderstandings could lead to serious legal problems for the firm – hardly good advertising for the firm.
  3. The relatively “simple” processes offered for online solution are not in any case very profitable, so a great deal of effort could lead to a relatively modest reward.
  4. A cheap online divorce or conveyance (say) is likely to undermine the solicitors “normal” work. A client could well say “Why should I pay a large amount of money for a personally managed divorce when you can provide the same service online for a third of the cost?

wolf

I first wrote on this subject for the Newsletter in early 2013. My views have changed quite a lot in the four years since then.

I believe we’ve seen that big is not always better, that well run, customer-focused, local law firms can survive and that trying to roll up 200 separate law firms under a new, national pink and black logo and name does not mean instant success for any of the firms involved.

So, who (or what) should law firms be afraid of, in 2017?

Market cc by Christopher Matson

About 10 years ago there was a strong feeling in the legal profession that selling legal services and documents online was going to be one of the big features of the future. I set up a section on my website for this topic at www.venables.co.uk/selling.htm with subdivisions for firms of solicitors doing this, companies doing this, and various other aspects of online activity including referral and marketing panels, and price and service comparison sites.

However, far from growing steadily, this first section in particular has struggled to add new firms and indeed, many of the firms originally doing this have now stopped doing so. There are now fewer than 20 firms that appear to be doing this and, in many of these cases, the services offered are very limited in scope and are certainly not the main means by which they are delivering their legal services.

Why has this aspect of legal services failed to grow?

Landlord-Law

I have been working on the web for a long time. I set up my first website in the 1990s and my membership site, Landlord Law, which I set up in 2001, is my main source of income now.

So what have I learned over the years? And how can my experience help you?

Legal Web Watch is an email service which complements the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers. This issue was published 15 February. To receive Legal Web Watch sign up here.

This month: Legal futurology; The future of law (again); Delia’s legal web picks.

A year ago, David Gilroy of Conscious Solutions wrote an article for the Newsletter on this topic. We also included the article in our online course Solicitors and the Internet 2013 and asked solicitors what their opinion is of the legal service providers quoted. Here are some of their comments together with a few words of introduction taken from David Gilroy’s original article. His summary of the situation now is given at the end of the article.

We have certainly seen the development of some big bad wolves in 2012. Perhaps “afraid” isn’t the right word, but who are the threats? Of the new breed of legal services providers, who should law firms be paying attention to?

In this article I offer some views on several wolves who are definitely worth watching. Many of these were represented at the Legal Futures conference in London which I attended last November. There was so much information given out by the presenters at that conference that it was almost like a one day MBA in how to develop your law firm.