Online Legal Services Are Ready to Explode
The legal industry has seen a significant shift in recent years. More and more cases are being settled online - and with good reason. Not only does it save time and money, but it also makes the process of introducing and settling a case more convenient for all parties involved.
While the online legal market is still in its infancy, there's no question that it's growing quickly. As more and more people become aware of the utility of online legal services like online will makers, the industry is poised for explosive growth.
What Are Online Legal Services?
Online legal services are exactly what they sound like - services provided by lawyers and law firms that can be delivered and accessed online. These services can range from simple forms and documents to sophisticated legal advice platforms.
To give you a better idea of the disruptive effect that online legal services are already having on the broader legal tech industry, we've put together a brief primer on three of the most popular online legal services in use today:
- Online will makers: Designed to ease the transition for the estate of a deceased relative or loved one, online will makers use pre-made will templates and prompted guides to help users create customizable, legally binding wills.
- Online legal document creators: Rather than having to seek out a lawyer for a variety of legal services, online legal document creators allow users to create, sign, and print complex legal documents (i.e. non-disclosure or non-disparagement agreements).
- Contract templates: Another popular use of online legal services, contract templates make it easy for users to generate professional, legally binding contracts without having to hire a lawyer. Contract templates are particularly popular amongst sole traders and small business owners.
The Benefits of Online Legal Services
There are many advantages to online legal services. Not only do these services streamline the traditional legal process, but they also provide significant accessibility benefits. Moreover, ongoing advances in document security and encryption have dispelled many of the privacy concerns surrounding online legal services.
Thanks to their ease of use, online legal services can dramatically cut down on the amount of time that lawyers and clients spend on everyday legal proceedings. Rather than driving to the courthouse or spending hours on the phone with their lawyer, clients can simply fill out the necessary forms online and then submit them via secure electronic delivery.
Online legal services also make it easier for clients to keep track of their cases. When a client has a lawyer on retainer, there's always the concern that their lawyer might miss a deadline or forget to submit a form. With online legal services, however, the client is in control. They can submit forms at their convenience, and they can track the status of their case whenever they choose. If they need to make a payment or amend a document submission, they can do so at any time.
Finally, online legal services make it easier for lawyers to run their businesses. By leveraging big data and predictive analytics, lawyers can now handle their cases with greater efficiency and consistency. And with automation tools that minimize the need for human oversight, lawyers can focus on the more complex aspects of their cases. This allows them to provide a more personable and more cost-effective service for their clients.
How Online Legal Services Are Changing the Industry?
In many ways, online legal services are changing the way that law is practiced. At the macro level, advances in machine learning and digital connectivity have made it far easier for legal professionals to manage their workload and interact with their clients. Rather than having to spend hours on administrative tasks, lawyers can now direct their focus to cases that require a more specialized touch.
After a slow start, online legal services are finally starting to gain traction. According to the Legal Services Consumer Panel tracker survey, the uptake of online services has more than doubled from 21% in 2012 to 44% in 2021. In a survey of 400 small businesses, 55% of respondents said that they had used an online legal service in the past 12 months. Of these businesses, 64% reported that they had a positive experience with their chosen service.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated the adoption of online legal services, with more than half of consumers (54%) accessing an online service or platform. In the United States alone, over $1.7 billion has been spent on the development of online legal services. By 2022, it's expected that the market will be worth more than $10 billion.
Online legal services are here to stay. They're convenient, they're cost-effective, and they're disrupting the wider legal industry in a positive way. While there's still some time before the industry reaches maturity, it's clear that online legal services have a bright future.