DirectLaw Founder Richard Granat Receives American Bar Association’s Louis M. Brown Lifetime Achievement Award for Legal Access
Palm Beach Gardens, FL (PRWEB) February 8, 2010
Richard Granat, an attorney and president and founder of DirectLaw, Inc., today received the Louis M. Brown Lifetime Achievement Award for Legal Access from the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services. Mr. Granat is being honored with the award for his work over five decades, exploring the use of technology to create cost-effective and innovative access to legal services for middle-income consumers. Among his many innovations, Mr. Granat developed an online legal services model that enables small law practices the ability to deliver their services to middle-income consumers at the same price as purely online document preparation services.
“Mr. Granat’s work and determination have helped in our efforts to deliver the next generation of affordable legal services for the middle class,” said Richard Cassidy, chair of the ABA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services. “We greatly appreciate his contributions.”
The mission of the ABA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services is to expand access to legal services for those of moderate income. This population, sometimes known as the working poor, does not qualify for legal aid or pro bono legal services, yet lacks the resources to pay for full-service legal costs in most settings. The Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access honors the work of those who advance this mission in innovative ways.
Today at a public hearing in Orlando, Florida, Richard Granat also provided testimony before the ABA Ethics 20/20, a commission established by president of the American Bar Association Carol B. Lamm to review lawyer ethics rules and regulations across the United States in the context of a global legal services marketplace and the impact on new technology on the delivery of legal services.
In his statement, Mr. Granat discussed the delivery of online legal services over the Internet, and how rules of professional responsibility can function as a deterrent to innovation in the delivery of legal services. He also addressed the issue of certain ethical rules having the effect of making legal services higher in cost than they should be and unresponsive to what the average consumer really wants.
“There are many questions about ethics and propriety that may arise over the delivery of online legal services,” said Mr. Granat. “Law firms should be encouraged to create ethically-compliant Web sites that offer legal services directly to consumers over the Internet. The Internet as a platform for the delivery of legal services has the power to significantly enhance the productivity and profitability of law firms, while offering consumers wide access to legal services.”
Mr. Granat has been involved in the national legal aid movement since the 1960s, and then went on to apply and adapt technology to the delivery of legal services . He was instrumental in the development of the Maryland Peoples Law Library during the advent of the Internet. In the 1990s, Mr. Granat worked through the American Bar Association Law Practice Management Section and in collaboration with the Delivery Committee on a presidential initiative culminating in an international conference on eLawyering. Most recently, he created and piloted DirectLaw, a business model that enables solo and small firm practitioners to offer online document preparation services to consumers. In 2009, Richard was named a “Legal Rebel” by the ABA Journal.
About the American Bar Association
With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world.
About Richard Granat
Richard Granat is president and founder of DirectLaw, Inc., and MyLawyer.com, Inc. He is also managing partner of MarylandFamilyLawyer.com, a virtual law firm and prototype for the DirectLaw Virtual Law Firm Platform. Mr. Granat is also chair of the eLawyering Task Force of the Law Practice Management Section of the America Bar Association and a member of the section's council and is a fellow in the College of Law Practice Management. He is a member of the Maryland and District of Columbia Bar.
About DirectLaw, Inc.
DirectLaw, Inc., based in Owings Mills, Maryland and Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, provides a virtual law firm platform to solos and small law firms that enables these law firms to deliver legal services over the Internet without developing complex software applications on their own. For more information visit DirectLaw.com.