ABA Rockets into the Future

The nation’s largest association of lawyers recently announced a unique partnership with an online legal services provider in a move that further illustrates the rapidly changing practice of law.

During its recent national meeting in Boston, the American Bar Association (ABA) announced that it is partnering with Rocket Lawyer Inc. to help ABA members establish more and better online connections with potential clients who otherwise would not be able to identify or afford legal counsel. ABA officials have said Rocket Lawyer will not profit from the program, and that the company will benefit from its association with the ABA. Founded in 2008, Rocket Lawyer provides free legal documents and no-cost legal information in addition to connecting online visitors with licensed attorneys at affordable rates.

In the infancy of the Internet, most law firms shied away from communicating with clients online for fear of leaks and/or the possibility of legal communications being intercepted by a third party. At the same time, many firms, including some looking to protect their own financial interests, warned clients that it was a bad idea to do business with companies such as Rocket Lawyer where legal advice would come from an attorney they likely had never met.

As is often the case, the public is a bit ahead of the profession. It has grown far more accepting and trusting of electronic communications – a dynamic that largely can be attributed to the widespread adoption of smartphones as a preferred vehicle for communicating with nearly everyone, including business associates, friends and family. As a result, services such as Rocket Lawyer have quickly grown in popularity and earned the approval of customers and, apparently, many in the legal community.

Although this certainly may not be your father’s (or your mother’s) way of practicing law, the fact remains that one of the more pressing issues facing the legal profession is the vast majority of consumers for whom legal services are prohibitively expensive. If Rocket Lawyer is successful in meeting its stated goal of “making legal services affordable, simple and available to more people than ever before,” that may well be a good thing.

Posted: 10/8/2014 11:05:11 AM by Editor | with 0 comments

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Thanks for stopping by On the Merits, the first blog from the Texas Center for Legal Ethics. On the Merits will take a close look at significant legal stories with an eye toward addressing the legal myths and misconceptions that turn up in news stories, movies, TV programs, websites, anonymous emails and other forms of mass communications. Our goal at On the Merits is to provide readers with a thoughtful examination of what the media and others are saying about the legal profession and to apply the frequently-absent context of how the legal system actually works.

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