Virtual Law Offices, Virtual Lawyers & eLawyering: Press and Social Media Coverage
“Richard Granat calls himself an “explorer of the outer limits of legal space,” and rightly so. Richard has been an innovator in the delivery of legal services for more than 30 years, since his work forming what is now the Legal Services Corporation. Not only a serial entrepreneur, Richard is something of a serial processor, with multiple projects proceeding at once at the frontier of law. As of this writing, he runs (at least) Granat Legal Services, one of the nation’s first virtual law offices; a self-help website for Maryland family law; SmartLegalForms, a legal forms company; and DirectLaw, a company that helps lawyers provide legal assistance as a service, among other ventures. He also sits on the board of advisors for four early-stage legal startups. Richard also has been pressing for liberalization of the regulation of the legal profession, especially in unauthorized practice of law and nonlawyer investment in law firms, as means to better serve middle-class consumers of legal services.”
American Bar Association Journal, September, 2009, Legal Rebel’s Project, Profile: Richard S. Granat September, 2009. “Granat is absolutely beyond cutting edge.” Susan Erlichman, Executive Director, Maryland Legal Services Corporation
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.”
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.”
How to Start a Virtual Law Practice, American BAr Association Journal, March, 2017.
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
DirectLaw Founder Richard Granat Receives American Bar Association’s Louis M. Brown Lifetime Achievement Award for Legal Access. Delivers Statement on Ethics, Innovation and the Future of Legal Services for Consumers Before the American Bar Association Commission on Ethics 20/20,
February 5, 2010.
Statement Before Ethics Commission: Online Legal Services: The Future of the Legal Profession, February 5, 2010