Smart Legal Web Sites
We are interested in building Smart Legal Web sites for law firms, legal service agencies, and corporate legal departments. If “brochure” web sites were first generation; and 2nd generation web sites actually provided some useful legal information to users, the next wave of law firm web sites will be smart web sites that help clients solve their legal problems, even if at first these legal problems are relatively simple.
A 3rd generation law web site is one that incorporates what we call “digital legal applications.” A “digital legal application” is a web-enabled software application that enables a user to resolve a legal problem or issue without the assistance of an attorney. We call a web site that is built around digital legal applications a “Smart Web Site.” Digital legal applications can be used by attorneys to deliver legal services more efficiently; more often they are used by consumers directly to help them solve their own legal problems and only purchasing the legal services of an attorney just when they need it.
The theory behind our view of the way in which the Internet will change the delivery of legal services in the future based on the development of these digital legal applications, can be found in the work of Richard Susskind and his latest book, The Future of Law. In Susskind’s view the most successful law firm’s in the future will be those which embrace disruptive technologies which are the focus of this web site. Every managing partner or executive director of a law firm should read Susskind’s book. It is provides a blue print for creating “Smart Legal Web Sites.”
What Digital Legal Applications Are Not
This software category of Digital legal applications excludes applications that are used by attorneys to assist them in the practice of law such as case management, time keeping and billing applications, litigation support applications, and other software programs that support administrative functions.
Some Examples of Digital Legal Applications
A “digital legal application” is intended to be a more inclusive concept than what is known as an “expert legal system” in the sense that it includes a variety of applications which are not quite “expert systems” such as:
- Document assembly tools
Web Sites That Think
Digital legal applications offer important benefits to consumers of legal services by enabling self-help approaches. We believe that these applications will continue to proliferate at an accelerating rate as computer processing power continues to increase exponentially. The reach of the Internet is a new factor which drives is driving the development of these intelligent applications in ways that was not possible previously when distribution of software applications was limited to the desktop.