Are Online Legal Services Really A Competition To Lawyers?

Technology and automation are changing the way we work, interact, and engage in business. Leaving their footprint on every industry, automation and online services are taking over every profession.

The market size for online legal services was valued at 8.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2020. Research by the Statista Research Department suggests that this figure will only continue to grow in the years ahead. Each one of us, at some point, will have made a Google search for a solution to a legal issue. This could be as simple as how do I pay my parking tickets, is it legal to record a conversation, is it illegal to smoke in the car?  But most of us have resorted to using the internet to clarify our legal qualms at some point or another.

To have a professional answer these questions, you would need to spend time finding that professional and would likely need to pay them a sizeable fee. But, when you have a working internet connection and a keyboard, these answers are available at your fingertips. It is understandable that more and more people are moving online to have their legal issues resolved and their questions answered, and the use of online services has only increased since the pandemic as people were forced to stay inside. But does this mean that it is the end of the traditional legal services? How do lawyers manage the growing popularity of online legal services? Why else are online legal services gaining popularity?

Cost-Effective

The fear of leaving behind your loved ones without direction is something that haunts everyone. This makes writing wills a most sought-after and expensive service of lawyers. The advent of technology, however, makes it possible to create a will online. All you need to do for creating a will without a lawyer is find a legal services website where you can easily make a DIY will that is just as valid as the wills drafted by a lawyer. The costs involved are relatively low, and you have the freedom to write your own will. 

A traditional legal firm has numerous overhead costs necessary for its functioning. All this is transferred to the clients in terms of the high costs for their services. As online law firms do not have to bear these expenses, the benefits are passed on to the client. 

Ease Of Communication

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Communicating with a lawyer in a traditional setup happens through phone and email. You will have to request an appointment with the lawyer beforehand and wait for your turn to interact with them. The sessions are expensive and could take a few days for you to find a time to discuss the issue over a call or get a response to your email. 

Online legal services, on the other hand, have their experts available round the clock. The virtual law firms can connect with you at your convenience over a video call and provide you with guidance. As legal help is seamlessly available, more and more people are switching to online lawyers over traditional law firms.

Flexibility

Traditional law firms have an office, fixed timings, and require appointments for you to interact with them. Online legal services are accessible and available 24*7 and can be accessed from your laptop, mobile, or tablet on the go. Clients can save time on travel and in-person meetings. Besides, online legal services are accessible to people worldwide, thus breaking the geographical boundaries of the legal profession too. 

A delay in accessing your legal team could prove to be an expensive affair. Online legal services eliminate this risk by instantly connecting you with reputable attorneys, legal experts, and automated systems which guide you on the preliminary steps to take. This will save you ample precious time and save you on legal costs. 

Reduced Paperwork

Legal services involve a lot of paperwork, which could be intimidating. A layperson cannot fathom the words and jargon in it and going through the documents, creating copies, and ensuring everything in place could be cumbersome. Imagine a scenario where you miss out on important documents or file them in the wrong order and risk getting your case or dispute resolution delayed. When things move online, it is possible to control the order of filing documents. Automation will help you be sure you have filled in all the details and have a copy for every document filed. This will make the paperwork process seamless and avoid confusion. 

Specialisation

The lawyer or the law firm you know might not cover the services that you are looking for. Whereas online legal services are built focusing on specialised niche services. This means you can get customised solutions to your legal issues from the subject matter experts instead of running from pillar to post trying to find an expert. 

As online platforms have fixed templates that you can use based on your concern, the paperwork is simplified and instant too. However, it is important to make sure you consult a legal professional and take their assistance if you wish to file a lawsuit or contest a lawsuit against you. You could use the online portals to help you with the templates and documentation part while finding a real-life attorney.

While many pros make online legal services a favourable option, it has a few cons too. For instance, these websites cannot act as your attorney or represent you in court. Instead, they act as guidance and help to provide a portal for basic documentation, business advice, and legal service forms. While it is acceptable to use online legal services for a few individuals and small business needs, these websites cannot replace the role of a physical attorney or a law firm. One could compare this to the way WebMd has not made the services of doctors and a professional diagnosis irrelevant. 

Consider using online legal services for legal advice and personal law assistance alone. Based on the guidance available online, you will have to hire an attorney for more customised service and a formal lawsuit. 

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