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With more DIY legal products being offered to laypersons, have you considered starting a do-it-yourself law firm?
The Internet has allowed potential legal clients to become more self-sufficient than ever. People are performing their own legal work like writing wills and incorporating companies. Others are coming into attorneys' offices with perhaps more knowledge of their legal issue than the attorneys themselves.
Still, a layperson will often want the security of having a professional set of eyes review his own work. So a niche is growing for attorneys to practice in an area that falls short of all-inclusive legal work, but more than what services like LegalZoom and RocketLawyer can offer.
A common complaint among clients is that they pay their lawyers thousands of dollars for essentially filling out a form. This is often the case in real estate matters, immigration work, bankruptcy, and many other practice areas.
Still, while lawyers may be charging quite a bit for their time, the reality is that it does take some expertise to even know which forms to fill out and how to respond to inquiries. Even when a form provides plenty of instructions, it can be very confusing to fill out the necessary paperwork.
As a result, many individuals are left with the low-cost option of filling in their own paperwork, or hiring an attorney to perform all the work from scratch. Entrepreneurial attorneys may want to step in to fill the void by offering lower-cost services to review a client's existing work.
For example, at so-called DIY law firms, an attorney can help review a client's estate planning documents and explain the positives and negatives of what the client provided. The attorney can even provide some suggestions for what the client should include. And if the documents need a major overhaul, the attorney can charge standard rates to rewrite the whole thing.
But attorneys should be aware that DIY firms are not for everyone. It can often take more time to review a layperson's work. This is especially true if you work with your own templates. Additionally, you will want to specify in your retainer agreement that you will not be liable for the client's own work.
The reality is that people are relying on attorneys less and less for legal services they believe they can handle themselves. An attorney looking to drum up some new business may want to consider targeting the DIY legal market.
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