Compete successfully with online legal forms


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Commercial legal forms are part of a burgeoning billion-dollar industry that are driving more and more consumers away from traditional legal counsel.

As consumers opt for convenience and fixed costs, how can lawyers compete with online legal form vendors and add a valuable revenue stream to their legal practice?
Join Vincent Morris, Director of the Arkansas Legal Services Partnership, and Matthew J. Kaufman, Head of Attorney Services at Rocket Lawyer, as they discuss the dynamics of the online legal form marketplace and how lawyers can capitalize on this growing industry. 
In This Webinar, Learn More About: 
 • The online legal forms market and the consumer mindset
 • How lawyers can effectively compete against online legal forms
 •  Using online legal forms as a profit center
  • Leveraging online legal forms as a business
 •  Online legal forms as a research tool
 • Tools to create your own online legal forms

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  • Richard Susskind’s 2008 book,The End of Lawyers, posits that legal work goes through stages as information becomes easier to classify and transfer with technology.Lawyers start by creating work from scratch, much like a bespoke suit, but soon begin reusing their old material as the basis of new material. This is when they begin to standardize their work.As their knowledge and body of work grow, some lawyers create tools that are based on guided decisions. These are similar to do-it-yourself income tax programs that guide a user through a series of pre-organized questions to derive a fixed result.Automated document drafting is another tool that lawyers frequently use that systemizes the production of data gathered by clients.Packaging shifts the labor of making choices and entering information from the lawyer to the client or consumer. They begin using tools designed for them by lawyers.[TRIGGER]
  • Packaged services make up the bulk of what we will be discussing today.For the client, this can mean dramatically lower costs of service, while for the law firm it offers the opportunity for them to make money while they sleep it is a radical departure from the hourly billing model, because the lawyers expertise is used without any direct consumption of their time.In addition, the cost of legal service comes down, the price becomes more certain, the time taken to complete work reduces, and the quality surprisingly for some goes up (the collective expertise of many professionals invariably outclasses even the most talented bespoke lawyer.)What’s interesting is that this transition from hand tailored approaches to package solutions exists in other fields. Accountants, realtors, travel agents, and even medical professionals are seeing their fields transformed by technology and information sharing. There are stumbles, but the transition continues.
  • Rocket Lawyer launched in 2008, and has helped about 20 million families and small business. They’ve also raised $53 million dollars in venture capital in 5 rounds of funding. Their latest round raised $15 million dollars and they’ve even received investments from Google’s Venture Capital group.Legal Zoom was launched in 2001.Issued initial filings in advance of an IPO in 2012Served approximately 2 million customers in ten years. In 2011, 20% of all LLC filings in California were through LegalZoom.Cases about mail-order forms stretch back to the 1970’s. We’ll take a look at a few of those next.
  • Florida Bar v. Stupica, 300 So. 2d 683, 686 (Fla. 1974). - state bars have generally drawn the line at the provision of advice along with forms. A copy of the "Divorce Kit" as an exhibit is attached to the report. It contains the following forms: Petition for dissolution of marriage; answer thereto; summons; sworn statement for constructive service; notice of petition for dissolution of marriage; motion for default; default; joint stipulations for motion for final hearing; motion for final hearing; order setting final hearing; and final judgment of dissolution of marriage.In addition to the enumerated forms, several pages are conjoined giving explanatory data concerning the proper use of the forms as well as specific information concerning Florida's dissolution of marriage laws.Insofar as the "Divorce Kit" includes explanations, instructions and advice as to the application and use of the forms the same reach proportions amounting to unauthorized practice. The forms standing alone do not involve unauthorized practice. However, the forms are coupled with direct legal instructions and advice as to their use or application in the field of dissolution of marriage law. We consider this to be legal counselling. State Ex Rel. Indiana State Bar Association v. Diaz, 838 N.E.2d 433 (Ind. 2005). The forms were used in routine transactions in the course of the jobs for which the nonlawyers were trained in Miller and for which the non-lawyers were both trained and licensed in Indiana Real Estate, and the forms were prepared by lawyers for use in such transactions.Diaz, a non-attorney, was performing immigration-related services that “went far beyond the use of forms.” Diaz’s services included advising her clients on many aspects of immigration law, including which forms to use and what information to provide in the blanks, writing motions and appeals to immigration officials on behalf of clients, and accompanying her clients to the immigration office.Unauthorized Practice of Law Comm. v. Parsons Tech. Inc., 179 F.3d 956, 956 (5th Cir. 1999). The Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee, and the court's subsequent order permanently enjoining defendant-appellant from selling and distributing its software programs, Quicken Family Lawyer Version 8.0 and Quicken Family Lawyer '99, within the state of Texas.TEX. GOV'T CODE ANN. § 81.101(a) (1998) (stating that the "practice of law" includes, inter alia, "the giving of advice or the rendering of any service requiring the use of legal skill or knowledge, such as preparing a will, contract, or other instrument, the legal effect of which under the facts and conclusions involved must be carefully determined").Subsequent to the filing of this appeal, however, the Texas Legislature enacted an amendment to § 81.101 providing that "the 'practice of law' does not include the design, creation, publication, distribution, display, or sale ... [of] computer software, or similar products if the products clearly and conspicuously state that the products are not a substitute for the advice of an attorney," effective immediately.
  • A lawyer may outsource legal or nonlegal support services provided the lawyer remains ultimately responsible for rendering competent legal services to the client under Model Rule 1.1. In complying with her Rule 1.1 obligations, a lawyer who engages lawyers or nonlawyers to provide outsourced legal or nonlegal services is required to comply with Rules 5.1 and 5.3. She should make reasonable efforts to ensure that the conduct of the lawyers or nonlawyers to whom tasks are outsourced is compatible with her own professional obligations as a lawyer with “direct supervisory authority” over them.In addition, appropriate disclosures should be made to the client regarding the use of lawyers or nonlawyers outside of the lawyer’s firm, and client consent should be obtained if those lawyers or nonlawyers will be receiving information protected by Rule 1.6. The fees charged must be reasonable and otherwise in compliance with Rule 1.5, and the outsourcing lawyer must avoid assisting the unauthorized practice of law under Rule 5.5.
  • is a website that offers the Letter of Intent Wizard – an online software that allows Ontario dentists to create their own Letters of Intent (a legal document that is used to allow a dentist to buy / sell a dental practice) is owned and operated by Dentist Legal Forms Ltd., an Ontario corporation that is operated by Ontario dental lawyers David Mayzel and Michael Carabash of DMC Law.
  • Smart Legal Forms Revenue ShareYour share of revenue is 50% of net sales, after refunds, and discounts. Depending on the volume generated, this revenue share can increase.The LegalZoom Affiliate Program is a way for you to earn a commission by promoting LegalZoom products using banner ads or text links within your website. Each time a visitor clicks on a LegalZoom link on your website and completes a purchase, you'll earn money.Other Affiliate Sales companies include NOLO,USLegal Sales, and many others.Lawyers need to keep their business of affiliate sales separate from their practice. This is a side business, not a integrated part.
  • Please describe Rocket Lawyer's On Call service?How many lawyers take advantage of Rocket Lawyer's service?Is there a cost to these lawyers?How does the client meeting service work?Are there requirements for the client meeting service that lawyers need to abide by?
  • Probably the most widely available tool already in your office is Microsoft Word. The developer tab on the ribbon has tools to insert text fields, check boxes and drop boxes. You can even lock the final document, so that only the insert fields can be edited.[TRIGGER]The Form Tool adds even more functionality to Word, allowing you to create complex documents that fill themselves in from your own library. There are free and paid versions available.[TRIGGER]Google Apps for Business allows you to design a form that you can share with clients. Answers are stored in a spreadsheet format that can be imported into your practice management software.[TRIGGER]RocketLawyer is a great tool for having online form input and output in your browser and it comes with a library of forms already.[TRIGGER]Hot Docs is a very widely used tool in larger law firms to automate document assembly in both Word and PDF documents. They now have a cloud-based version that runs in a browser and allow client input over the web.[TRIGGER]Neota Logic lets you create online decision trees and tables, case-based reasoning, and use them to guide clients through an online decision-making process to create a custom document.
  • Open your word processing program. In our example we are using Microsoft Word but you do not need to use this program. The supported filetypes are: ".doc", ".docx",".ppt", ".pptx", ".xml".
  • For Legal ProfessionalsThe best way to create and manage your legal documents.Go to Small Claims Court armed with forms and information. Prepare Wills quickly. Connect with Clients.Easy Icon Easy-to-useOur unique, supportive software uses easy-to-understand questions about your case to create the forms you will need, including your Statement of Claim, Wills, Non-Disclosure Agreements.
  • How did you get started with online legal forms?What tools did you start using when you began making forms?Using forms has increased the number of clients your non-profit helps; do you think lawyers can apply the same techniques to their practices?What tools are you using now to create forms?Where do you see online legal forms going in the future?
  • Online Forms appeal to consumers due to fixed price, ease of use, and availability.Marketplaces are changing, with online forms overtaking the market and changing the traditional rules of unauthorized practice of law.Technology makes it easier for everyone to enter the online legal form market.Look at online forms as a tool you can use., either in your practice, speeding research and automating your workflow, or in your marketing & business activities – allowing the forms providers to bring business and revenue to you.
  • Compete successfully with online legal forms

    1. 1. Competing Successfully With Online Legal Forms Joshua Lenon Director, Communications at Clio Matt Kaufman, Head of Attorney Services - Rocket Lawyer Vincent Morris, Director - Arkansas Legal Services Partnership #ClioWeb
    2. 2. Today’s Presentation • • • • • • • • Online Legal Forms Use of Legal Forms in Practice Forms as Research Tools Forms as Revenue Tools Guest Speaker: Matt Kaufman Creating Your Own Forms Guest Speaker: Vincent Morris Questions #ClioWeb
    4. 4. Rise of Online Forms Bespoke Packaged Standardized Systematized Commoditized #ClioWeb
    5. 5. Rise of Online Forms Bespoke Packaged Standardized Systematized Commoditized #ClioWeb
    6. 6. Features of Online Forms • • • • • Online Downloadable in blank or finished format Fixed price Specific Use Reliable Source #ClioWeb
    7. 7. Sources of Forms #ClioWeb
    8. 8. Legal Profession Response • Florida Bar v. Stupica, 300 So. 2d 683, 686 (Fla. 1974). • State Ex Rel. Indiana State Bar Association v. Diaz, 838 N.E.2d 433 (Ind. 2005). • Unauthorized Practice of Law Comm. v. Parsons Tech. Inc., 179 F.3d 956, 956 (5th Cir. 1999). #ClioWeb
    9. 9. Bar Associations American Bar Association Formal Opinion 08-451 August 5, 2008 Lawyer’s Obligations When Outsourcing Legal and Nonlegal Support Services Rules 1.1, 1.6, 5.1, 5.3, 5.5 #ClioWeb
    11. 11. Costs of Forms Research Traditional Publishers Online Publishers Example: Missouri Probate Forms Example: Complete Will Price: $168 Last Updated: 1997 Price: Free to $69 Last Updated: August 2012
    12. 12. Searchability
    13. 13. Searchability #ClioWeb
    14. 14. Functionality #ClioWeb
    15. 15. Functionality #ClioWeb
    16. 16. Licensing Rocket Lawyer: • “ROCKET LAWYER CONTENT IS NOT FOR RESALE. “ Legal Zoom: • “grants a limited, personal, non-exclusive, non-transferable license to use their forms for personal, internal business use, or if you are an attorney or professional, for your client.” #ClioWeb
    18. 18. Loss Leaders #ClioWeb
    19. 19. Affiliate Sales
    20. 20. Client Lead Engines #ClioWeb
    22. 22. Matt Kaufman Head of Attorney Services at Rocket Lawyer
    24. 24. Tools Requirements: • • • • Input Editing Fixed Output Delivery Method #ClioWeb
    25. 25. Tools #ClioWeb
    26. 26. Using Your Own Forms #ClioWeb
    27. 27. Creating a New Service #ClioWeb
    29. 29. Vincent Morris Director of the Arkansas Legal Services Partnership
    30. 30. Summary • Online Forms appeal to consumers • Changing marketplaces exist • Technology keeps advancing • Lawyers can seize varied opportunities to incorporate forms and form providers in their practice #ClioWeb
    31. 31. QUESTIONS
    32. 32. Thank You @goClio @Joshualenon @SFInnovation
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