DirectLaw, Inc., Launches its Virtual Law Firm Platform™ for Solos and Small Law Firms

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eLawyering Expert, Richard Granat, Challenges Conventional Law Firm Model

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Consumers who do everything over the Internet also want to be able to connect over the Web with their lawyers when they have legal problems. This is the future for the legal profession.

DirectLaw, Inc. today announced, at the LEGALTECH Trade Show in New York, the legal technology industry's largest trade show, the release of its virtual law firm platform for solo practitioners and small law firms. The DirectLaw Virtual Law Firm Platform(TM) will allow solo practitioners and small law firms to service consumers and compete technologically with larger firms by using Web-enabled automated document assembly that can be bundled with legal advice.

The DirectLaw Virtual Law Firm Platform(TM) is a "virtual law firm" in a box for attorneys who want to "put their practice on the Web". It comes complete with a secure, online administrative dashboard to manage the client relationship and includes integrated e-commerce features for online credit card purchases. This dashboard enables on-demand retrieval and review of client documents, includes upload/download features to share drafts and deliver final documents, and provides a secure MyLegalAffairs(TM) Web space where clients communicate with their attorney.

Within the MyLegalAffairs(TM) web space, clients purchase legal documents and services, interact with attorneys, and receive legal advice. Choosing from hundreds of common legal documents, clients enter their data and instantly create a document ready for attorney review. Available documents include wills, powers of attorney, health care powers of attorney, marital separation agreements, divorce pleadings, and a complete collection of state-specific business documents such as corporation and LLC formation. Clients are charged a fixed fee, rather than billed by the hour, and purchase legal services online using a credit card.

Virtual Law Firm Platform(TM) is a software as a service (SaaS) turnkey solution that integrates seamlessly with a firm's existing web site. Attorneys do not have to be programmers to offer automated and web-enabled legal documents to their clients. There is no software to install or hardware to maintain.

"The proliferation of non-lawyer legal document preparation web sites serving consumers and small businesses has been taking market share from solos and small law firms," said attorney and eLawyering expert Richard Granat, president of DirectLaw. "It is time for law firms to fight back with real legal services online at affordable prices for moderate- and middle-income clients. Non-lawyer legal document preparation services, which hold themselves out as having legal expertise, have no basis for comparing themselves with law firms, as they do not provide legal advice."

"Using DirectLaw's Virtual Law Firm Platform, we have been able to connect with consumers over the Internet and expand our reach from just the city of Baltimore to consumers throughout the state of Maryland," said Robert Grossbart, a Baltimore, Maryland-based bankruptcy attorney. "Consumers who do everything over the Internet also want to be able to connect over the Web with their lawyers when they have legal problems. This is the future for the legal profession."

Richard Susskind, author of "The End of Lawyers? Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services" and UK legal futurist, in writing about the DirectLaw model, comments that "Granat aims to offer his service at the same price as purely online systems but with the added advantages (in interpersonal and liability terms) of having a qualified lawyer involved. He is showing that legal technology can be deployed easily and cheaply by small practices."

The DirectLaw Virtual Law Firm Platform is licensed on a subscription basis. There is no set-up charge. The subscription includes state-specific interactive automated document libraries in wills and trusts, consumer issues, business law, and family law. A virtual law firm site can be operational within 10 days from sign-up.

About DirectLaw, Inc.:
DirectLaw, Inc. based in Owings Mills, MD and Palm Beach Gardens, Fl, is a subsidiary of Epoq US, Inc, the leading provider of automated legal forms and documents over the Internet to consumers and small business in the United States. Epoq US operates a large network of automated legal form web sites such as SmartLegalForms.com, that are powered by Rapidocs(R), its proprietary web-enabled and interactive document automation technology. Rapidocs® was developed by Epoq US's sister company in the United Kingdom, Epoq Group Limited, the leading web-based automated legal forms and legal document provider in the UK, and the sponsor of the consumer oriented MyLawyer network of law firms.

About Richard Granat:
Richard Granat is President and founder of DirectLaw, Inc., and Epoq US, Inc. He is also managing partner of Maryland Family Lawyer a virtual law firm that is the prototype for the DirectLaw Virtual Law Firm Platform(TM). Mr. Granat is also co-chair of the eLawyering Task Force of the Law Practice Management Section, a member of the Section Council of the American Bar Association, serves on the Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services of the ABA, and a fellow in the College of Law Practice Management.    

Mr. Granat has been involved in developing innovative legal services delivery systems for over 30 years -- first as President and Dean of the Philadelphia Institute for Paralegal Training, the nation's first paralegal school, -- and then as the founder of Automated Legal Systems, Inc., one of the first legal software companies to publish legal software applications for the personal computer. He is a member of the Maryland and District of Columbia Bar.

For additional information or to access a demo of the DirectLaw Virtual Law Firm Platform, contact:

Pam Andrews
DirectLaw, Inc.
http://www.directlaw.com
561-656-2080
1-866-497-8615
pam (at) directlaw.com

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