Human Lawyers (and Law Librarians) vs. Online Legal Services: It’s Not About You

Jim Calloway’s blog post: GPSOLO: Law Practice 2020 has lots of tips including this one from GP Solo, vol. 31 No. 3, by David Hiersekorn:

“Online Legal Paper Mills: Are They a Threat and How Do We Compete?

…. Using LegalZoom as an example, a consumer goes to the website and sees testimonials from smiling customers. Then they go through the online questionnaire, never encountering a question that they can’t answer. And soon they find that they are just a credit card number away from having the document they went looking for.

The magic of the LegalZoom system is its ability to make consumers believe that they have found a complete solution and that they don’t need to look further. If a question is difficult or requires legal advice, then it doesn’t make its way into the process.

Think of it this way. If a consumer completes the process and doesn’t have any unanswered questions, what exactly is he or she going to go ask an attorney? In Carlin’s terms, consumers stop looking for additional solutions because they think they’ve already found one….

Remember, usefulness is the currency of the Internet. People flock to the most useful websites. They don’t care whether you’re an expert or how much experience you have. The web isn’t about you. It’s about them. Put yourself in their shoes, assume that they have just learned that they have a problem that you solve, and then walk them through the process of solving it.

Lawyers have a huge advantage in this regard. The non-lawyer services can’t give legal advice and they can’t promise results or suitability….

Six and A Half Tips to Get You Started….” [For full article, link to GP Solo article, "Online Paper Mills" and the 6-1/2 tips.]

Free One-Hour CLE for Oregon Attorneys: OSB BarBooks CLE (9/24/14)

BarBooks™ Webinars

Join us for a free, live one-hour BarBooks™ training session right from your computer. Learn the nuts and bolts of getting the most out of your BarBooks™ member benefit with this interactive training session. This training is approved for one general or practical skills CLE credit, which may only be claimed once.

September 24, 2014, 10-11am

Email us at to be added to one of our scheduled trainings.” [Link to the OSB Legal Publications blog post for more information.]

Promoting Access to Justice with Oregon State Bar E-Books (on Amazon)

Oregon State Bar: Promoting Access to Justice with E-Books

The OSB Legal Publications department launched a new project in May that we wanted to tell you about. We have begun offering a series of Family Law e-books on These e-books include information on how to find and hire a lawyer, as well as links to information about the OSB Lawyer Referral Service, legal aid services in Oregon, and the ABA page on lawyer referral services nationwide….” [Link to full 6/27/14 blogpost.]

Why are Passwords So Hard for Lawyers? (Inter-Alia)

Tom Mighell tackles the question: Why are Passwords So Hard for Lawyers?”

Answer: ZZZZZzzzz. But doze off at your own risk:

Excerpt: “The subject of passwords is one that is both fascinating and frustrating to me. We know that it’s getting easier and easier for hackers to crack our passwords; just three years ago, a nine-digit password would take 44,530 years to crack, but today that same password can be cracked in less than a day, according to Passfault. And yet, when I mention this in speeches that I give, lawyers invariably give a heavy sigh, roll their eyes, and promptly tune out. I know what they’re thinking: “12 digit password? It’s hard enough for me to remember the name of my dog and the numbers 123!” [Link to blog post and blog homepage.]

OSB Publications and PLF Practice Tips, Checklists, and Forms for Oregon Attorneys

OSB BarBooks: Did you know that in addition to all the practice loose-leafs available online through your OSB BarBooks service, you can also find these invaluable OSB publications:

  • PLF Handbooks, e.g. Oregon Statutory Time Limitations
  • Guardianships, Conservatorships and Transfers to Minors
  • Interpreting Oregon Law
  • Oregon Trial Objections
  • Rights of Foreign Nationals
  • Oregon Legislation Highlights (current year – and, potentially, previous years)
  • UPL Advisory Opinions (including the opinion on non-lawyer client representation in Small Claims Court)

Don’t forget to check out the OSB Legal Publications blog.

PLF Practice Publications: Explore dozens, hundreds, of PLF Practice Aids and Forms at the PLF website, including sample engagement (and disengagement and nonengagement) letters, client and case checklists, and lots of eCourt tips, reminders, and warnings.

PLF Law Practice Management website and blog: Law practice advice with humor and perspective: Blog posts, articles, presentations on a wide range of topics like, “I can’t find my client,” “How to fire a client,” and “Is your hard earned money being stolen?

Legal Forms: “LegalZoom Gets Nod from South Carolina Supreme Court”

The Legal Forms Problem bedevils most states, even those with active statewide Access to Justice Commissions (Oregon does not have one). Some states are tackling the legal forms problem head on with gusto and with Statewide Legal Forms Committees (see also the legal forms program presentations at the ABA Equal Justice website – there was an excellent one a couple weeks ago on the Washington State Legal Forms initiative).

See the ABA Resource Center for Access to Justice Initiatives and the Access to Justice blog for information and news about these A2J commissions and initiatives.

From 3 Geeks and a Law Blog, 4/22/14, post: “LegalZoom Gets Nod from South Carolina Supreme Court”

Excerpt: “The term “Access to Justice” (A2J) is tossed around a lot in the legal world, but as the old saying goes, talk is cheap. It is common for state bar associations to step up and use another phrase to shoot down A2J projects or non-lawyers’ attempt to fill a gap in the legal process that is underserved. In most cases, it is seen as a ploy to protect the Bar Association’s members… at the expense of those needing help with a complicated legal system. One of the most contentious issues is on basic legal forms. Companies like LegalZoom have stepped in to create forms for the individual citizen, and have found many states are very reluctant in approving of their products and services.

This morning, LegalZoom launched a press release that announced that the South Carolina Supreme Court approved of their business model and that its services of providing legal forms for individual citizens to use is not the unauthorized practice of law….” [Link to full blog post.]

The Oregon public law librarian view: Legal Forms Pyramid

Oregon Attorney Blogs: OSB Legal Publications and PLF Law Practice Managment Tips

1) Stay on top of useful Oregon law publications:

The Oregon Legal Publications blog is just entering the blawg-world and will include writing tips from their attorney editors, excerpts from books, and OSB Legal Publications department news and announcements.

2) Practice Management Tips for Oregon Lawyers:
Oregon Law Practice Management website and blog from PLF includes a wide range of blog posts on ethics, hardware, and software and a growing collection of articles and presentations on topics like “How to Fire a Client” and “Zero Tolerance for eFiling Errors.

The Law of Oregon Crowdfunding and Raising Money on the Internet CLE (1 credit)

When: Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 12:00
Where: Kell’s Irish Restaurant & Pub, 112 SW 2nd Ave, Portland, OR

Crowdfunding is a buzzword and, from Kickstarter to the JOBS Act, holds great promise for collective action. With both technological and social aspects, the concept seems new and exciting and its impact is expanding globally. But in the United States, crowdfunding fits within an existing legal structure that is changing more slowly than the buzz would suggest.

As far back as the Renaissance, the “subscription” was used to allow a group of like-minded individuals to raise funds to collectively accomplish something that was too big (and too risky) for one person to take on alone. So what is new about crowdfunding compared to a subscription? (1) The buzz; (2) the technology (internet platforms); (3) the speed of raising funds; (4) the JOBS Act; and (5) SEC Regulations implementing the crowdfunding provisions of the JOBS Act. Please join CILS for a lively discussion on the practical uses of crowdfunding, the risks of using crowdfunding sources, and what we know (and still don’t know) about the SEC regulations.”

Speakers are from Immix Law Group.

$22 for CILS members;
$27 for other bar members and non-lawyers;
$18 for students.
This cost includes lunch.
MCLE Credit: CILS will apply for one (1) CLE credit