Cyber Lawyers

We have all seen the advertisements for websites such as LegalZoom.com and the internet is most definitely not a new mode of communication for this generation.  However, the “Cyber Lawyer” presence seems to be growing.  At LawPivot.com and JustAnswer.com there is legal advice at the public’s fingertips, literally.  For less than $50 individuals may go online and ask their questions to live attorneys who are being paid by the question as some sort of “side job.” (The requirements to become an “expert” at JustAnswer.com are as follows: (1) Complete an online application; (2) Take a short subject matter test; (3) Verify that your license to practice law is valid and in good standing.)  Other lawyers have chosen a cyber presence exclusively.
It is not uncommon to read an article questioning the quality of “Cyber Lawyers,” but it seems that commentary debating the ethical obligations (particularly the Unauthorized Practice of Law) is much more scarce.  When lawyers work for these types of sites are they giving legal advice?  Should it even be considered practicing law?  The Commission on Ethics 20/20 is currently updating and revising the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Responsibility.  Has the internet affected the profession of law to such an extreme that might warrant special rules for these types of websites?  Has the internet impacted the places lawyers practice law to the point where a uniform United States bar exam is preferable?
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3 thoughts on “Cyber Lawyers

  1. This is an interesting idea and makes me wonder how federalizing law practice would affect the quality of lawyering (cyber or otherwise) and the concern, and value, of lawyers creating barriers to entering the profession. Lawyer advertising and practicing without licenses seem to have long been concerns for the profession (and the public). It would be interesting to see an in-depth exploration of how the cyber aspect of lawyering changes how we ought to address these concerns.

  2. I don’t even know the way I stopped up right here, however I believed this publish was once great. I don’t understand who you’re but definitely you are going to a well-known blogger when you are not already. Cheers!

  3. I had an interestingly related experince I thought I’d share. I once witnessed a pro se, uncontested divorce before a judge in which the petitioner obtained a standard divorce decree from a website that may or may not have been similar to those you mentioned in your blog. The judge had to ask the petitioner if she realized that the divorce decree’s stipulations did not apply to her particular situation. Standardized, blanket forms are never a good idea, and even in the situation where a person chats with an online attorney, is it possible to feel confident about this method when it involves such disconnection? Though the price to utilize such websites may seem right, in my opinion, talking with an attorney face-to-face is well worth the extra cost, particularly when it comes to matters involving one’s family and/or livelihood.

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