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    July 25th, 2012

    ♫ Said we’re Diverse City, we’re colourful goods
    It’s said we’re Diverse City, we’re colourful goods
    It’s just a state of mind, we gonna shine the way that we should, baby…♫

    Music, Lyrics and recorded by: The Diverse City Band.

    Today innovative lawyers are finding new clients and new ways of rendering legal services by using the vast array of services offered by the Internet. This isn’t just about blogging, using social media or using Skype, although those do factor into the equation. In the words of the eLawyering task force of the American Bar Association:

    eLawyering encompasses all the ways in which lawyers can do their work using the Web and associated technologies. Think of lawyering as a “verb” – interview, investigate, counsel, draft, advocate, analyze, negotiate, manage… – and there are corresponding Internet-based tools and technologies.

    This ability to render legal services virtually opens up vast ways to reach out and serve clients as compared to a traditional “bricks and mortar” practice. Think of online forms, unbundled legal services, private discussion forums, deal rooms, document depositories, cloud (public, private and hybrid) services and more. Unlike a traditional office that keeps traditional business hours, a virtual lawyer could work from home asynchronously, at all hours of the day, rendering legal services to fit their schedule, at lower cost and in a way that meets their client’s needs.

    The 24/7 nature of the Internet offers the ability for lawyers who may not desire the traditional model of practice the ability to stay active in their profession as well as achieve a work-life balance that fits their lives. Already, lawyers with young families have found that a virtual practice allows them to continue in their profession but without the rigid work-time constraints of traditional practice.

    Other lawyers have found that they can build practices that render discrete tidbits of legal information to their clients in an unbundled format by using the Internet. Still other lawyers have found that they can reach out to distant markets and make contact with clients in new ways and at a much lower cost than otherwise by using the collaborative power of the Internet. Lawyers who are building an immigration or international business practice have been able to capitalize on Internet technologies in this way. Other lawyers have built the ability to meet with clients using Web conferencing tools such as Skype and GoToMeeting.com. Cloud-based services offered by web-based companies are changing how lawyers perform their back-office services while still remaining traditional bricks and mortar firms.

    A few brave firms are using the off shoring potential of the Internet to contract work out to lower-cost lawyers in jurisdictions such as India to lower the overall legal spend of their clients and to remain cost competitive.

    Still other lawyers are setting up websites that seek to go beyond the law firm and seek to be Internet-based companies that provide near-legal services such as legalzoom.com and rocketlawyer.com.

    What is clear is that the Internet is changing the profession and allowing for greater diversity in how lawyers and clients meet, converse, interact, exchange, collaborate and more. It is allowing them to shine the way they should.

    (This post was originally written for the Canadian Bar Association – British Columbia Branch’s newsletter “BarTalk” in the column “PracticeTalk”).

    This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 25th, 2012 at 9:55 pm and is filed under Adding Value, Business Development, Change Management, Issues facing Law Firms, Technology, Trends. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

    3 Responses to “eLawyering – Diverse ways of rendering legal services.”
    1. Christy Burke Says:

      Hi Dave –
      This is an interesting topic for sure – thanks for writing about it! I recently heard about a portal site called LawZam (www.lawzam.com) that is a free platform for the public to receive free legal consultations via videoconference. LawZam seeks to help people find lawyers by providing technology so lawyers can conduct face-to-face video consultations with prospective clients on the Web.

    2. Delta Law Office Says:

      New portal services keep popping up every month. We’re using an agency to help us with the web marketing and SEO for our site, which helps promote us in local search. Because we have strong community roots, developing a significant local search presence furthers our brand and has helped us make that transition from typically more expensive offline marketing and biz dev.

    3. Delta Law Office Says:

      We’re also finding that our market tends to appreciate our “lighter” approach to web copy through our site and online materials. I understand the propensity for law firms to publish text on their website consistent with typical legal jargon, but our experience has shown us that the best way to connect with our online market and our community is to speak with them in an more casual tone.

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