Seattle, WA (PRWEB) June 08, 2014
Washington State's first dedicated online family law firm has just opened its virtual doors. Owned by Seattle attorney Sharon Blackford, Washington eLawyer is the first law firm in our state focusing solely on providing personal legal advice and documents online at flat fees at a cost the average person can afford.
Online divorce and family law firms like Washington eLawyer are at the cutting edge of the legal services revolution. Widely used in the United Kingdom, such firms are gaining popularity in the U.S. as well. Like the U.K. firms, Washington eLawyer uses a combination of online questionnaires, webcam and phone sessions and online project management tools to bring down the cost barrier between people and attorneys. Instead of paying an attorney a retainer and hourly fees, a client pays only one upfront fee. Clients have the choice of scheduling an individual consultation on whatever topic they need help with, like custody or child support, and reviewing relevant documents online with Ms. Blackford; or purchasing a document-and-consultation package for a specific purpose, like creating documents for divorcing a spouse with or without children. Each document created using Washington eLawyer is personally reviewed and edited by Ms. Blackford and includes 7 days of personal attorney follow-up time to clarify any questions.
Washington eLawyer is leading a trend to reshape the legal world to fit the realities of the 21st century economic landscape. According to Washington Supreme Court Justice Barbara Madsen, civil litigation in our state has now become unaffordable for middle-income people, leaving them with few options. Their choices generally are to hire a traditional attorney, emptying out whatever retirement and savings they have, and maxing out their credit cards; or to enter the risky territory of foregoing legal advice altogether, perhaps using a document mill or other non-lawyer service.
According to the Pro Se Project’s 2010 report, between 46-95% of Washington State family law litigants come to court without a lawyer, depending on the county. As a result, people often don't get what they came for, or have to make multiple trips to court to fix simple mistakes. Ms. Blackford views this state of affairs as barbaric. “For many years I watched people's cases fall apart in court just because they couldn’t afford a lawyer,” says Ms. Blackford, “I eventually realized I was part of a system that had completely collapsed. So I decided to create a new online law firm that people can afford in the 21st century.”
When people disagree over money or parenting, they often turn to courthouse facilitators or online document preparation sites for help. The problem with these organizations, says Ms. Blackford, is that they can't provide legal advice about the consequences of the documents they prepare, or help their users understand their rights and options. Document preparation websites often try to make it appear as though they offer an attorney’s services, but unless a specific attorney is named in the website, beware: a typist or "paralegal" secretary is doing the work.
Washington eLawyer handles contested and uncontested cases, offering document-plus-consultation packages starting at $250. Every case receives individualized attention from Ms. Blackford, an attorney with almost twenty years of experience in Washington State. Free resources are also available on the website. Washington eLawyer plans to expand their offerings soon to include Response To Petition, Parenting Plans and Modifications, Child Custody, Temporary Orders, Negotiating Your Case, and Finalizing Your Case.
To learn more about Washington eLawyer, visit http://www.waelawyer.com.