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:
- These products are technically difficult, requiring sophisticated (and expensive) software to do the job online, and considerable ongoing technical support.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?