You knew someone was going to discuss it at some point: the creep. I’m not talking about Uncle Earnie … although he’s never been quite right … no, I mean the creep of non-lawyers (whether a non-lawyer professional, a business person, or a soccer mom) into what we used to call “legal work” (if that even means anything any more). Whether we’re comparing an incorporation online or a store-bought will, lease, or promissory note, I can’t decide whether to love or hate these labor and money saving products of a DIY culture, the Internet, and an educated population. Case in point. In response to this post by Carolyn Elefant on the Law.com Blog Network I had a few things to say. Feel free to disagree … if you can. Here we go
Prepackaged legal documents such as wills, deeds, and leases are the tip of the iceberg and you know it – more and more of the not-too-difficult but profitable tasks once performed by lawyers have been overtaken by cheaper, more readily available options.
I think this happened before … what was it called? Oh yes, the Industrial Revolution. Millions were out of work. It was a bad time to be in buggy whips, what with the horseless carriage on the rise.
Of course when a layman takes up the pen they are still bound to make costly mistakes, but that is the problem (if it really is a problem); for most people a ‘good enough’ job is, well, good enough. Why pay high incremental costs to take your output from ‘good’ to ‘great?’
Like it or not, this is the way of the future. All that remains is to determine who will benefit and who will suffer. Taking all bets …