Cloud Based Doc Automation Changes the Future of Law


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The problem: Family law attorneys don’t have enough clients or have huge collections/receivables issue. People with family law problems can’t afford and/or do not want to use family law attorneys.

The solution:

Cloud based document automation allows attorneys to create a document automation system that is accessible from anywhere. The system allows lawyers to automate legal pleadings and save user data. Lawyers, paralegal/assistants or the actual clients can input essential data. Data is merged into forms making drafting simple, fast and efficient.

Since the system is cloud based, a portal allows a user (the public) to browse forms, select and purchase a form for their personal use, and create a Microsoft word document that is professional, easy to use, and legally perfect.

Providing local, family law legal forms directly to the public benefits lawyers, law firms AND the public? Modern Law Forms is the future of law. Stop thinking of legal services as an all or nothing proposition!

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Cloud Based Doc Automation Changes the Future of Law

  1. 1. Document Automation in the Cloud VIRTUAL LAWYERING ON STEROIDS
  2. 2. What is cloud based document automation? How can it be used and why use it? Ethical Implications of cloud based automation and usage Technical Requirements
  3. 3. Does not require a server Typically subscriptio n based Accessed via an internet signal Hosted in remote databases What is Cloud-based?
  4. 4. Accessible only within your network or from your computer Software such as Microsoft Word Hosted on your computer or server What is Non-Cloud-based?
  6. 6. Document Automation  Designed to reduce redundancy and simplify processes  Systems and workflows that assist in the creation of electronic documents  Creates contracts, letters, or legal documents in less time  Implemented in law firms, websites, and companies to increase efficiency  This is the future of law
  7. 7. The Future of Law  In 2009 Richard Susskind published the book The End of Lawyers? Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services  Predicted idea that the legal profession is on the brink of a fundamental transformation.  Driven by two irresistible forces:  The commoditization of legal services; and  The IT revolution.
  8. 8. Commoditization • Standardization • Systemization • Packaging IT revolution • Automated document assembly (legal zoom) • Online legal guidance (virtual law firms) • Legal open-sourcing (information shares like AVVO or Findlaw
  9. 9. Use of Forms Internally Externally
  10. 10. Use of Forms Internally • Increase efficiency • Save Time • Decrease Prices • Increase Profit • Limited Scope Services Externally • Other Law Firms • Non-Client Users • Document Preparers • Legal Aid/Non profit • Create a Client Pipeline
  11. 11. Why Use Limited Scope Services  Control your workload  Control your schedule  Limit your exposure on a case  Build your practice  Reduce accounts receivable issues  Create profit  Increase your client base  Meet demand
  12. 12. Roughly 60% to 90% of family law cases nationally involve at least one self- represented litigant. Only 5 percent or less of cases in general civil dockets include a self-represented litigant. Recent data shows Compared to…
  13. 13. Maricopa County 60 percent of family law cases have no attorneys, 30% have 1 attorney, 10% have two attorneys. That means that 30,000 at one time in Maricopa county are in need of your assistance. One judge disclosed that there are 20,000 filings in family court at one time….
  14. 14. Largest factor: Affordability of attorneys and the cost of representation. Average divorce: $20-40k. Too much for Americas and Maricopa County Residents Doesn‘t mean they don’t have money or can’t afford any representation. They just can’t afford the whole shebang! Not a fun way to spend money. A client with millions doesn’t appreciate huge legal bills. How do you think they got to be millionaires? Why?
  15. 15. Control • We are smarter consumers. • We are a DIY nation. • We have greater expectations. • Even wealthy & savvy clients may choose limited scope representation. Why? Our culture has changed
  16. 16. Here’s how we think it should look…
  17. 17. But how do the Rules of Ethics impact our use of this product?
  19. 19. Unauthorize d Practice Attorney- Client Relationship Solicitation Advertising Confidentiality Ethical Implications
  20. 20. Fees - Value Billing Scope of Services Cloud Computing and Compliance Conflicts Duties to prospective clients Dual business activities Ethical Implications
  22. 22. Diligence Confidentiality Competence Safe- Keeping Property Avoiding Conflicts Communication Ethical Implications: Clients
  23. 23. Fairness Confidentiality Truthfulness Avoiding Conflicts Full Disclosure Affirmative Disclosure Ethical Implications: Non-Clients
  25. 25. Client Duties Competence • Forms must be up to date and correct • Viewed and verified by attorneys Diligence and promptness •Helps control workload • Efficient and effective
  26. 26. Client Duties Confidentiality Safe-Keeping Property
  28. 28. Electronic Storage/Internet • ER's 1.6 and 1.1 require an attorney act competently to safeguard client information and confidences. • Reasonable precautions • Protect security and confidentiality of docs and data – Competent review of proposed security measures – Periodic review
  29. 29. Model Rule 1.6(c) • A lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client.
  30. 30. Client Duties Conflicts Value Billing
  31. 31. Client Duties Scope of Services Communication
  32. 32. FEES Model Rule 1.5
  33. 33. Fees Value Billing Use of legal forms internally and recover development cost? • Flat Fee • Hybrid Billing • Earned Upon Receipt
  34. 34. DUTIES TO NON-CLIENTS Rule 1.18: Duties to Prospective Client
  35. 35. Fairness Confidentiality Truthfulness Avoiding Conflicts Full Disclosur e Affirmative Disclosure
  37. 37. Non-Client Duties • Lawyer’s responsibility to ensure user understands they are not in a Lawyer-Client Relationship. • Use disclaimers • State early and often and get an affirmative acknowledgment • Suggest consultation with an attorney
  38. 38. LAW RELATED SERVICES Rule 5.7: Responsibilities Regarding Law-related Services
  39. 39. DUAL CAREERS? MRPC 5.7(b)
  40. 40. Dual Careers • Simultaneous engagement in a business career and the practice of law is permissible • Independent in operation and practice • Same physical location is OK but must maintain: • Separate phone numbers – Letterheads, books and records – Assure that all legal files will remain confidential
  41. 41. MRPC 5.7(b) states: “The term law-related services denotes services that might reasonably be performed in conjunction with and in substance are related to the provision of legal services, and that are not prohibited as unauthorized practice of law when provided by a non-lawyer.” Official Comment: When law-related services are provided by a lawyer under circumstances that are not distinct from the lawyer's provision of legal services to clients, the lawyer in providing the law-related services must adhere to the requirements of the Rules of Professional Conduct as provided in paragraph (a)(1).
  42. 42. Best Practice Guidelines for Legal Information Web Site Providers 2003 E-lawyering Task Force, ABA Law Practice Management Section and ABA Standing Committee On the Delivery of Legal Services 1. Contact Information 2. Dating Material 3. Jurisdiction 4. Limits of Legal Information (disclaimer) 5. Links
  43. 43. Best Practices Con’t The goal of these guidelines is to promote the development of quality legal web sites and to provide guidance to legal web site developers. 6. Legal Citations 7. Referrals 8. Permissions 9. Terms and Conditions 10. Privacy Statement
  44. 44. Technical Requirements • Internet Connection • Software • Substantive Forms • Interactive Platform • E-commerce • Disclaimers/Opt Ins • IP protection
  45. 45. Hot Docs Legal DocX Doc Forge Intelex
  46. 46. SCENARIO
  47. 47. • PC attends a consultation and you advise her she needs to file for divorce. • You provide her a follow up email with your notes and all of her options including…. – Full Scope Traditional representation and a fee agreement – Limited Scope Drafting for a Petition for dissolution and perhaps a motion for temporary orders – Instructions on where to find self help forms….including your site.
  48. 48. Hi Amy, It was great talking with you. Attached are the options we talked about for moving forward and my notes from our conversation. If you decide you want us to handle everything please read the attached advanced fee agreement carefully and let me know if you have any questions about it. If you would like us to draft the documents for you and proceed in a “limited scope” manner, we will enter into a flat fee agreement for the drafting services only. Those terms are also attached. Finally, I know you indicated that finances are tight. As we discussed I have developed a separate business to provide legal forms for self representing clients. In the event you wish to represent yourself, you can find the forms we discussed here. This is a company that I own separately from the law firmand use of the forms does not create an attorney client relationship between us. You may wish to consult with other family law attorneys prior to determining whether self representation, and use of my legal forms is the way you desire to move forward. Let me know if you have any questions at all. Billie
  49. 49. Document Automation in the Cloud VIRTUAL LAWYERING ON STEROIDS
  50. 50. Email: Website: Linked In: Billie Tarascio Twitter: #ModernLaw CONTACT INFO