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 the practice of law. There are literally hundreds of these legal documents Web sites. More of these legal document Web sites launch every month, if not every week on the Internet.
These Web sites include for example:
- courts and government agencies
- physical form suppliers, such as Blumberg
- packaged software, such as Quicken’s Will Maker or Broderbund’s WillWriter
- online form sites, such as US Legal Forms, SmartLegalForms, DivorceLawInfo, or CompleteCase.com
- organizations, such as the Association of Corporate Counsel
- commercial online document preparation services, such as Koncision, LegalZoom,and RocketLawyer.
- nonprofit and governmental sites, such as LawHelp Interactive
- free online document generation services by law firms such as Goodwin Procter, Orrick,Perkins Coie, and Wilson Sonsini
- independent licensed notaries public or legal document assistants or technicians in states such as Arizona, California, and Florida
- virtual law practices, with secure client portals
The Task Force believes that there are common principles that ought to guide these legal document sites, and practices that consumers should be able to expect. The eLawyering Task Force also recognizes that consumers have different levels of knowledge in meeting their documentation needs. Some believe, for instance, that it is simply a matter of getting “the” right form, and pay little attention to careful drafting and appropriate execution. Others have a more sophisticated understanding of options and implications. Nevertheless there should be baseline expectations that meets the needs of all kinds of users. The goal is not to issue a "seal of approval" of these legal document Web sites. The objective is to encourage these Web sites to use acknowledged "best practices" in the development and delivery of their services.