eLawyering Blog

eLawyering Blog

Lawyers Delivering Legal Services OnLine

Category Archives: eLawyering Ethical Issues

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Private Investment in US Legal Services

Posted in Competition, eLawyering Ethical Issues, Legal Ethics, Unauthorized Practice of Law
I had the honor of speaking at ReInventLawSiliconValley, a conference on innovation and the legal system sponsored by the ReInvent Law Laboratory at Michigan State Law School, co-founded by Professors Dan Martin Katz and Renee Newman Knake. This was a great learning day for me and I suggest if you are interested in the subject of change … Continue Reading

Best Practice Guidelines for Legal Document Service Providers

Posted in Document Automation, eLawyering Ethical Issues, eLawyering Events, Legal Ethics, LegalZoom, Web-Enabled Document Assembly
The American Bar Association’s eLawyering Task Force has compiled a draft set of best practice guidelines for legal document providers, which can be downloaded here*.   An increasingly popular – and controversial – category of service providers are those that supply customer-specific documents over the Internet, using interactive software and/or human resources, without purporting to be engaged in … Continue Reading

Virtual Lawyering and “Virtual Presence” under Model Rule 5.5 (b) (1)

Posted in eLawyering Ethical Issues, Legal Ethics, Virtual Law Firms, Virtual Law Practice
  The ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 Working Group on Uniformity, Choice of Law, and Conflict of Interest has identified some issues related to defining limits on Virtual Practice under Rule 5.5. Model Rule 5.5 (b) (1) requires a lawyer to obtain a license in a jurisdiction if the lawyer has an office or a … Continue Reading

December Law Practice Today Issue Focuses on eLawyering

Posted in eLawyering Ethical Issues, eLawyering Events, Web-Enabled Document Assembly
The latest edition of the ABA’s Law Practice Today webzine has good articles on elawyering and virtual practice and a really innovative piece by Marc Laurtisen titled,  Dancing in the Cloud, and an introduction to the elawyering concept by Stephanie Kimbro –  Getting Started With eLawyering). I also wrote a short article on Document Assembly … Continue Reading

Legal Cloud Computing Association Publishes Responses to ABA, North Carolina State Bar

Posted in Cloud Computing, eLawyering Ethical Issues, Outsourcing, Standards and Best Practices
The Legal Cloud Computing Association (LCCA) has published responses to proposals issued by the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 and the North Carolina State Bar regarding the use of cloud computing within a law practice. The Legal Cloud Computing Association ("LCCA"), formed in December 2010, is the collective voice of the leading cloud computing software providers … Continue Reading

Is LegalZoom Just a Self-Help Legal Software Company?

Posted in Competition, Document Automation, eLawyering Ethical Issues, Expert Systems, LegalZoom, Self-Help Law, Unauthorized Practice of Law, Web-Enabled Document Assembly
In a Fortune Magazine blog post by Roger Parloff just last week, entitled Can Software Practice Law?, writing about the class action suit against LegalZoom in Missouri for violating Missouri’s UPL statute, Parloff argues that LegalZoom is no more than a self-help legal software company, and therefore entitled to the same protections as a self-help legal software … Continue Reading

NJ Attorney Advertising Committee Rules that a TotalAttorneys WebSite is Misleading

Posted in eLawyering Ethical Issues, Legal Fees, Legal Referral
The Committee on Attorney Advertising of the New Jersey Court System issued an Advisory Opinion this week that stated that a Total Bankruptcy web site,  published by TotalAttorneys®, a law firm marketing and services organization based in Chicago, is misleading and in violation of the Rule of Professional  Conduct 7.1 (a) .Download Full Opinion . … Continue Reading

LegalZoom is Considering an IPO

Posted in Competition, eLawyering Ethical Issues, LegalZoom, Unauthorized Practice of Law, Unbundled Legal Services, Venture Capital
Apparently LegalZoom is in the early stages of planning an IPO, (going public),  according to an unnamed source at VentureBeat. Employing more that 500 employees, and having raised over $45 million in venture capital over the last few years, LegalZoom is clearly the leading non-lawyer legal document preparation web site. This is a good example … Continue Reading

LawPivot: Another Legal Advice Web Site

Posted in Change, eLawyering Ethical Issues, Free Law, Legal Fees, Legal Referral, Marketing On-Line Legal Services, UK Legal Reform, Unauthorized Practice of Law, Virtual Law Firms
Another interesting start-up has emerged out of Silicon Valley to provide crowdsourced legal advice to other start-ups for free. Vertical Q&A web sites seems to be the next new thing among venture capital investors. Even Facebook  rolled out this year a crowd-sourced Q&A service. LawPivot, a legal Q&A web site founded in 2009,  hopes to … Continue Reading

Will LegalZoom Become the Largest Law Firm in the US?

Posted in eLawyering Ethical Issues, Legal Referral, LegalZoom, Marketing On-Line Legal Services, UK Legal Reform, Unauthorized Practice of Law, Virtual Law Firms
  LegalZoom has been beta testing a concept which links its marketing capabilities to a network of law firms that offer legal services under the LegalZoom brand. With some state bar associations accusing LegalZoom of  the unauthorized practice of law,  it might makes sense for the company to seek deeper alliances with networks of attorneys … Continue Reading

NJ Bar States that “Virtual Law Firms” Violate the Bona Fide Office Rule

Posted in eLawyering Ethical Issues, Law Firm Productivity, Virtual Law Firms, Virtual Law Practice
New Jersey is one of the few states that has what is known as a "bona fide office" rule. A NJ Bar Committee recently endorsed the role and this has created a lively debate within the legal blogosphere. [ See ABA Journal Article ]. “Virtual law offices” violate the state requirement for a bona fide … Continue Reading

Ethics 20/20 Commission

Posted in eLawyering Ethical Issues, Law Firm Productivity, Virtual Law Practice
The ABA Ethics 20/20 Commission had public hearings at the ABA mid-year meeting in Orlando. Florida this week-end. A focus of the Commission’s work is the impact of Internet technology on the delivery of legal services, both globally and within the United States. The Commission has a 3 year period to undertake research, conduct hearings, … Continue Reading

Innovation and Rules of Professional Responsibility

Posted in Change, Competition, eLawyering Ethical Issues, Home Office Lawyering, Law Firm Productivity, Legal Referral, Marketing On-Line Legal Services, Standards and Best Practices, Unauthorized Practice of Law, Unbundled Legal Services
ABA President B. Lamm has created a new Commission on Ethics called Ethics 20/20 to review  ethics rules and regulation of the legal profession in the United States in the context of a global legal services marketplace. Hearings will be held at ABA Meetings to get input from various interests on how to reform or … Continue Reading

ABA Teleconference on the Virtual Law Firm

Posted in eLawyering Ethical Issues, eLawyering Events, Virtual Law Firms, Virtual Law Practice
The Law Practice Management Section of the American Bar Association is sponsoring a Teleconference on the The Virtual Law Firm: Benefits, Costs, and Ethical Pitfalls to Avoid, on Thursday, December 17, 2009 between 1:00 P.M. and 2:30 P.M. The program is a Live Audio Webcast with PowerPoint support. I am participating in the program, together … Continue Reading

Minimum Requirements for Virtual Law Firms

Posted in eLawyering Ethical Issues, Marketing On-Line Legal Services, Standards and Best Practices, Virtual Law Firms, Virtual Law Practice
The eLawyering Task Force,  which is part of the Law Practice Management Section of the American Bar Association has been developing a recommended set of minimum requirements for law firms delivering legal services online.  The draft that has been published is a working draft and we are soliciting comments as we move towards a final … Continue Reading

The “Good Enough” Legal Solution

Posted in eLawyering Ethical Issues, LegalZoom, Pro Se, Unbundled Legal Services, Virtual Law Firms, Virtual Law Practice, Web Legal Advisors, Web-Enabled Document Assembly
There has been some recent blog comments [See: Carolyn Elefant ‘s Blog  [about  the meaning of Robert Capps article  in this month’s WIRED Magazine, (September 2009) about the concept of "Good Enough",  "Good Enough" solutions, (when cheap and simple is just fine). , and my quote about how this concept applies to the legal profession. When … Continue Reading

The Good Enough Revolution

Posted in Competition, eLawyering Ethical Issues, Legal Fees, Unbundled Legal Services, Virtual Law Firms
The month’s WIRED Magazine, (September 2009) has an interesting article on how the Internet is enabling "Good Enough" solutions, (when cheap and simple is just fine). I have maintained for a long time that often there is a certain amount of overkill when lawyers tackle a problem, when consumers really want a quick and reasonably priced result. … Continue Reading

Total Attorneys Responds to Zenas Zelotes Attack

Posted in eLawyering Ethical Issues, Legal Referral, Marketing On-Line Legal Services, Outsourcing
Total Attorneys has responded to Attorney Zenas Zelotes filing of ethics complaints in 47 different jurisdictions. The Total Attorneys response can be found here. Total Attorneys summarizes its response as follows: "In a nutshell, Mr. Zelotes’s 303-page complaint (including exhibits) alleges that Total Bankruptcy (and various other Total Attorneys companies) is a for-profit referral service, … Continue Reading

Total Attorneys Being Sued for Violation of Legal Referral Rules

Posted in eLawyering Ethical Issues, Legal Referral, Marketing On-Line Legal Services
 TotalAttorneys, a so-called marketing association of attorneys that operates legal referral web sites,  such as TotalDivorce and TotalBankruptcy , is being sued in multiple jurisdictions by Attorney Zenas Zelotes, a consumer bankruptcy attorney, based in Hartford, Connecticut and Nevada, for violation of bar referral rules that exist in every state. The Connecticut Law Tribune just released a headline story about the … Continue Reading

Analyzing LegalZoom’s Advertising Practices

Posted in Competition, eLawyering Ethical Issues, LegalZoom
There is a blog post at For Connecticut Lawyers which analyzes LegalZoom’s deceptive advertising practices that are designed to persuade consumers that purchasing legal documents from LegalZoom is the same as a service from an attorney. The post examines the hidden nature of the disclaimer notice that LegalZoom cannot give legal advice, and questions what … Continue Reading