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Online Law Blues: Life Without Lawyers (and Law Libraries)?


Inter-Alia is one of those blawgs that I almost never miss, though its guru, Tom Mighell, sure makes it easy to catch up on past posts and newsletters if you get swamped and miss an issue or a posting, or two or three.

A entry from the Oct. 5th, ILRW, contained this tidbit, which is a good follow-up to my post on Let’s (Not) Kill All the Law Libraries (and my own follow-up), arguing that if “the law” really was “all online,” then why would we need lawyers?

Verbatim from Tom Mighell’s Internet Legal Research Weekly, Oct 5th, 2008:


As the practice of law continues to migrate online, sites like Tractis begin to appear. Even more important, companies like Tractis are trying to eliminate the middleman — the lawyer — from the legal equation. Also, the service appears to be geared towards residents of European Union countries. Tractis allows you to create, negotiate, and sign contracts 100% online, and they guarantee they will be legally binding in the offline world. You can create contracts from scratch, or use a template from the Tractis library. All versions of the contract remain online, where the parties can negotiate them while working on the same document. The service costs 1 Euro per signature, but only if you’re the seller — if you are the buyer, it won’t cost you anything to use the site. — (go to ILRW, 10/5/08 issue, to find this post and more)

(Of course, I’m perfectly happy if YOU don’t hire a lawyer when you draft that contract, but I sure will (and you can be sure that if you are pro se, your opponent will hire one too).

It’s all online???? Hal? Hal? HAL!!!

(If you were wondering (and you were, weren’t you? :-), my own favorite Arthur C. Clarke novel is Childhood’s End. It’s on my Everyone Must Read list, with these 3:

1) Mark Twain’s,
The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg
2) U.S. Constitution
3) Jill Bolte Taylor’s, “Stroke of Insight” (If you or anyone near you could conceivably be medically incommunicative, but alive, you will want EVERYONE around you to have read this book.))

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One response to “Online Law Blues: Life Without Lawyers (and Law Libraries)?”

  1. Hi Laura,

    This is David Blanco, part of the team behind Tractis. Thank you so much for the mention.

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say that we are trying to replace lawyers. Instead we are trying to provide tools for lawyers to better interact with their clients and with the other parties.

    As you rightly point out, drafting a contract without a lawyer is NOT a good idea. From the very beginning we have been receiving coverage as the “Tractis, the lawyer killer”. To say so amounts to not realizing the difference between information and knowledge. Tractis can help you providing tools and information (contract templates, contract variables, online contract negotiation, online contract execution, etc) but you still need the knowledge (lawyers).

    Tractis is an excellent tool for good lawyers willing to escape from their “postal code” to reach a wider audience of clients, regardless of their location. If Tractis were trying to “kill” a lawyer/middleman, then it would be the “bottom-of-the-barrel-lawyer”, the one that just copy templates, fill them with data and rush to charge the client, the bad lawyer that doesn’t add any value (knowledge) to his/her clients. My point is that Tractis is an opportunity for the former and a threat for the latter.

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