New online platforms and mobile apps bring laws and advisors to the connected public.
Desks of heavy wood, books of wide loin ordered in the library, white shirts and shiny shoes. The classic image of the lawyer and his traditional habitat are changing as a consequence of the technological transformation that includes more and more aspects of the social and economic life of the people.
Legal start ups are the trend that brings the right to Internet users closer. These platforms or applications, created by professionals from one part or another, combine process automation and online personalized advice, with the aim of simplifying and lowering costs of some legal practices.
In the United States, the number of technological firms devoted to the subject has multiplied in recent times and, although they have not yet managed to install themselves at a massive level, the projection on a market estimated at US $ 400,000 million is promising. The sector continues to lag behind others, but several exponents have already opened the vein in the activity. And it is estimated that it is a matter of time for the trend to expand with the fluidity of the water on the map of Europe and Latin America.
Registration of brands, patents, testaments, creation or dissolution of companies and even divorces are part of the offer of companies such as LegalZoom, one of the most important US firms, which has already 14 years of experience. A similar case is that of Rocket Lawyer, which, under the motto of “legal made simple” (“legal, in a simple way”), allows the creation of legal documents online (that even admit digital signatures), such as employment contracts, and receiving specialist advice in a few hours. The prices are set as a service SAAS (software as a service), depending on the needs of users. The monthly rate goes from US $ 7 to almost US $ 50, or US $ 84 per year.
There are also services on demand. Priori Legal is a kind of marketplace of selected lawyers, which the site makes available according to the area of expertise demanded by customers through an application form. It is the latter who choose their favorite, based on the comparison of the cost of the fees (with the reduction guaranteed by Priori) and the experience of the professional.
Consulted by us, lawyers related to local entrepreneurship agreed on the need to adapt professional practice to digital. However, they warned that automation can only be partial and complementary to the “artisanal” task that each case requires.
The classic structures and legal start ups can coexist and even complement each other, but not replace each other. “We do not believe that the role of the lawyer as a counselor of their clients can be replaced by automatic systems, since the relationship between client and lawyer is completely personalized, and that requires adjusting the proposals for a customized solution” the specialist explained. Together with a study team, provides training to entrepreneurs promoted by the Asociación Civil Inicia. Be Skype, telephone, mail or meetings, says Chichizola, any tool will be useful as long as there is a customized response.
Larrosa finds difficulties in adopting the current digitalization of professional services as it comes from the northern hemisphere. “On the one hand, clients prefer to go to the studio where their lawyer is face to face, on the other hand, it adds that our legal ecosystem is very bureaucratic, complex and changing, which requires a lot of personal interaction between the professional and the client, unlike the American legal system, which in many aspects is much more agile, simple and predictable” he explains.
Also published on Medium.