The Legal Profession Lags Behind Other Industries in Offering an Online, Virtual Experience for Its Clients

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DirectLaw Announces an Online Virtual Lawyering Learning Center, and a Free Version of its Virtual Law Firm Platform

DirectLaw - Virtual Lawyering Made SImple

DirectLaw - Virtual Lawyering Made SImple

eLawyering expert Richard Granat, CEO of DirectLaw, commented that, “Many lawyers think they are “virtual lawyers” because they use e-mail and don’t see their clients face to face. This is not the case. This is not what we mean by a "virtual law firm."

DirectLaw, Inc., a web-based virtual law firm platform that enables law firms to deliver online legal services, has concluded based on its own market research, that solos and small law firms are lagging behind other industries, such as travel, banking, and financial services, in providing a true, online legal services experience for their clients.

DirectLaw’s market research indicates that less than one (1) percent of solos and small practitioners have “client portals” which satisfy the American Bar Association’s eLawyering Task Force definition of what it means to be a “virtual law firm.” The eLawyering Task Force of the Law Practice Management Section of the American Bar Association defines a “virtual law firm” as a law firm that has a secure “client portal” where the client can sign in with a user name and password and work with their attorney securely in a digital environment.

eLawyering expert Richard Granat, CEO of DirectLaw, commented that, “Many lawyers think they are “virtual lawyers” because they use e-mail and don’t see their clients face to face. This is not the case. The next generation of clients who have been raised on Facebook, MySpace, the iPhone and iPad will expect to deal with their lawyers online in the same way they book their travel online, relate to their friends online, network online, do their banking online.”

To help solos and small law firms learn how to deliver legal services online, DirectLaw launched an online Virtual Lawyering Learning Center, integrated with an online and collaborative community of law firms, called VirtualLawyerConnect, where discussions can take place, colleagues can provide answers for less experienced practitioners, and virtual law firm resources are described and explained.

In addition, DirectLaw is making available an almost free version of its platform for solos and small law firms. A low, one-time set-up fee is required, but there is no monthly subscription fee and no minimum term. With this DirectLaw Free Version, a law firm can:

  • Sell legal advice by phone, e-mail and web cam
  • Offer review services and provide advice for existing documents or forms.
  • Offer legal and court coaching on a flat-fee basis online.
  • Share, store documents and communicate with clients securely online.
  • Publish important, upcoming dates/events for clients. Includes an automatic reminder feature.
  • Publish client-relevant legal information/links online.
  • Enable clients to pay their legal bills online, keep track of legal invoices, and manage their legal affairs more effectively.

Despite the fact that the legal profession needs to play catch-up, an online poll carried out by YouGov* on behalf of Epoq UK, the UK affiliate of DirectLaw, Inc., reveals that nearly half (47%) of consumers would be more likely to choose a law firm that offered the convenience of online access to legal services and documents over one that had no online service capability. Fifty-six percent (56%) said they expected good law firms to give customers the ability to use their services online in the next couple of years.

Editor’s Notes: *All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov, Plc. Total sample size was 2,266 adults. Field work was undertaken March 2-4, 2010. The survey was carried out online.

About DirectLaw, Inc.
Launched in 2008, DirectLaw (http://www.directlaw.com), a subsidiary of Epoq, US, Inc., is leading the way in giving law firms an online legal services delivery system that enables them to take advantage of the mobile Internet and the demand by consumers for working with their lawyers online. Based in Owings Mills, Maryland, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and New York City, DirectLaw provides a virtual law firm platform that is a subscription-based Software as a Service (SaaS) offering. The platform creates for law firms a virtual presence on the Internet through their existing web sites almost instantly and at a low monthly cost.

For more information visit DirectLaw.com.

About Richard Granat
Richard Granat is president and founder of DirectLaw, Inc. He is also founder of MyLawyer.com, a consumer-oriented web site offering free legal forms, free legal information, and a national network of virtual law firms that offers legal services online for an affordable fee. Additionally, Mr. Granat is managing partner of GranatLegal.com, founded in 2003 as the first virtual law firm in Maryland, and prototype for the DirectLaw Virtual Law Firm Platform. Mr. Granat is also Co-Chair of the eLawyering Task Force of the Law Practice Management Section of the America Bar Association; 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. In 2010, Mr. Granat received the American Bar Association’s Louis M. Brown Lifetime Achievement Award for Innovation in the Delivery of Legal Services.

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Pam Andrews
DirectLaw, Inc.
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