California Bar Journal, Embarking on a Virtual Odyssey, Ultimately to Save Money, by Diane Curtis, December, 2009
"Richard Granat believes that attorneys who lag behind in using technology are denying themselves access to what he calls “a large latent market” worth billions of dollars of middle-income clients who can’t afford the high hourly rates of many law firms. That group, he says, head to the Internet first for business resources and are looking for alternatives to current legal billing practices. Eighty percent of Americans don’t even have a will, he says, a hint that the broad middle class might improve that statistic if lawyers made it easier and cheaper to get one."
"The concept appeals to firms that want to position themselves to capture a generation coming up that will only want to deal with lawyers over the Internet," Richard Granat says, " For the general practice law firm in areas like family law these concepts will mainstream."
One of the biggest drawbacks to an online will is that a professional hasn't reviewed the documents, says Granat. If that worries you, hire an attorney to review what you have done online. He should be current on any new laws in your state.
However, a law could have changed without the online site updating its information. It's also possible that the online form you choose may not be the right one for your situation.
"You are buying something without a warranty, as is," says Granat. "If there's something wrong with it, even with one small mistake, you're taking a risk. But if a lawyer drafts the will, he stands behind his documents."
Virtual Law 1.0: Manchester Firm Offers Online Services, New Hampshire Bar News, September , 2009. John Deachman is optimistic for the future of virtual law. If lawyers don’t respond, they’re going to lose market share to the people that aren’t providing good services," he said. "It [the growth of virtual law] is inevitable. It has the potential to open up the law to people that are virtually – no pun intended – unrepresented."
The Good Enough Revolution: When Cheap and Simple is Just Fine, by Robert Capps, WIRED Magazine, September 2009.
"Richard Granat is a pioneer in a field called elawyering. It shouldn't be confused with Web sites that merely offer legal documents for downloading, Granat explains. Elawyering involves actual lawyers, and clients who use these services get help sorting through legal issues.
Granat, who runs his own law firm and co-chairs the American Bar Association's task force on elawyering, has designed and marketed a number of Web tools that walk people through common legal procedures. He created a child-support calculator, for example, which assists couples going through relatively amicable divorces. There's also a tool to help people decide whether they need Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. These widgets then generate legal forms, which may be reviewed by a licensed attorney who can make suggestions or offer advice over the phone.
It turns out to be a remarkably efficient way of offering what Granat calls legal transaction services—tasks that are document intensive. For everything from wills to adoptions to shareholder agreements, elawyering has numerous advantages. It's cheaper, for example; a no-fault divorce, Granat says, might run a fifth of what seeing an attorney would cost. It's also faster—customers can access the tools anytime and never have to interrupt their day to meet with someone in a distant office. Simply put, elawyering makes certain legal services more accessible."
Self-Help Law: Websites for DIY clients fix attorneys up with new business by Meredith Alexander Kunz, California Lawyer, June, 2009.
Virtually Legal: Bricks and borders place no restrictions on the growing wave of virtual lawyers by Alison Arnott, -- Canadian Bar Journal, June 2009.
Lawyering for the Future -- by Glenn Kauth, Canadian Lawyer Magazine, March 2009.
e-Lawyering or Bust? -- by Kathleen Brockel, LSNTAP Newsletter, July 2008.
The e-Law Experience - Some, But Not All, Find Virtual Success Unbundling Legal Services on the Web -- by Jason Krause, American Bar Association Journal, September 2006.
Law Tech Generations: Newer Versions of Firm Websites Boldly Go Where Few Lawyers Have Gone Before -- by Terry Carter, American Bar Association Journal, February 2004.
Practicing in the Virtual Realm: A Framework for Delivering Legal Services Online, Richard S. Granat and Marc Laurtisen, Law Practice Today, American Bar Association, November, 2009.
Law Firm Web Sites That Work -- Richard Granat, American Bar Association Journal, April 2009.
eLawyering: Providing More Efficient Legal Services With Today's Technology, Richard S. Granat, New York State Bar Association Journal, September, 2008.
The Many Faces of e-Lawyering: Everyday Law For Everyday People -- Richard S. Granat, Law Practice Magazine, January/February 2004