Homework Assignment 4

Define two (2) discrete tasks that could be “unbundled” from different areas of law practice.
1. General or Specific Power of Attorney
2. Rental Agreement

Define a task that lends itself to being converted into a “digital application?” such as a website, smart phone app or downloadable program.
Non-Disclosure Agreement or Confidentiality Agreement

List some of the risks (at least three) involved in “unbundling legal services?”
1. Restrictions by a state bar association
2. Clients who do not choose to have documents reviewed by an attorney or paralegal may make mistakes when filling out forms and then present those forms in court
3. Mistaken identity – A client’s identity may be somewhat difficult to verify.

Think of a “digital application” that could automate a legal task, AND bundled with legal advice to be sold for a fixed fee? (re-bundling concept). Describe it in your homework.
Immigration. With so many strict immigration laws being passed throughout the United States, the question that arises is what to do with US-born children of illegal immigrants when the illegal parents become detained or deported? The web site could provide forms to protect both the assets and US-born children of illegal immigrants. Organizations throughout the US have created packets, but never automated the process.

Homework Assignment 3

Elmore County, AL Court
Alabama Supreme Court
U.S. District Court – Middle District of Alabama
Does the court support efiling? If yes, what is the best URL?
Yes. It’s the same for all courts in Alabama.

Instructions can be found here:
Does the court support efiling for self-representing litigants?
It appears that they do not.
But they do provide online forms for pro se litigants:
Yes. It’s free to review online documents pertaining to the case if you don’t incur more than $10 in expenses per quarter. It’s free to view the document once, and then there’s a $0.08 fee to view each document thereafter.
Does the court website have an online docket or calendar? (if yes, include a link)
Yes. Per a local attorney, the calendar and docket are embedded within
the efile program.
Does the court website have any forms that can be used online or downloaded? (if yes, provide a link)
Yes. It’s the same for all courts in Alabama.
Pro Se: http://www.almd.uscourts.gov/repself/prose_forms.htm

Attorneys: http://www.almd.uscourts.gov/formfeespubs/att_forms.htm

Homework Assignment 2

TO: Mr. Partner
FROM: J. Brent Helms, Junior Associate
DATE: February 18, 2012
RE: Document Automation Platforms

Dear Mr. Partner:

Per your request, I tested three document automation platforms: Orrick, WSGR, and Goodwin. Here’s what I found:

Orrick offers its Term Sheet Creator (powered by HotDocs) as part of its Start-up Tool Kit on its external web site, which enables clients to get term sheets for free, but also enables clients to collaborate with Orrick by doing their own data entry.
The downside
Start-up companies need a variety of basic legal instruments, everything from formation documents to venture financing documents. Orrick offers only term sheets. The caveat: while a client can select a term sheet template, run through the interview, and generate a custom document, the client will then have to take the extra step to send Orrick the answer file, which Orrick will then use to create all the other documents involved in the transaction. But how much will the client pay for the “other” documents?
Requires Silverlight, which is not always compatible with Apple products such as the iPhone, Mac, or iPad
The upside
It's a high-volume approach that affords Orrick interaction with lots of potential clients in a short amount of time. It will likely increase billable hours and client interaction.

WSGR’s START tool is a customized implementation of ContractExpress document assembly software. It is designed to prepare 20 – 25 core documents used in the formation of a typical Deleware corporation, including key form agreements related to equity issuances, employment matters, and intellectual property.
The downside
The document assembly tools contain detailed tutorials that may cause a client new to or unfamiliar with start-ups to get bogged down in the millions of questions. While help links are available, an unfamiliar client would likely benefit from the assistance of an attorney or paralegal, which would, in my opinion, streamline the process better than the automated system.
The document assembly tool does not do a good job of visually separating the 20 – 25 documents, which makes it feel like you’re wading through a never ending ocean of questions with no land in sight.
The upside
For a client familiar with start-ups, this tool would render fast turnaround times, quality and consistency in the document preparation process, and lower legal bills for the projects supported by the tool.

Goodwin’s Document Driver, powered by ContractExpress, is a free, online resource that enables entrepreneurs to create a suite of custom tailored start-up documents for a Delaware corporation. The tool offers a series of fill-in-the-blank and multiple choice questions that provide guidance and help clients navigate through legal and organizational decisions.
The downside
None that I could find.
The upside
Clients may choose, by checking or unchecking boxes, which start-up documents they want to create for free. A short description of each document in the suite is provided. For an inexperienced client, the entire process takes around ten minutes.

My Recommendation
It’s free, comprehensive, user-friendly, simple, and boasts a modern design.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

J. Brent Helms
Junior Associate

Homework Assignment 1

5 advantages of running a VLP
  1. 1. Lower overhead
  2. 2. Greater work/life balance and flexibility
  3. 3. Tap into a broader market of consumers seeking legal services
  4. 4. Lessen malpractice risks through the use of technology to automate checks
  5. 5. Streamline administrative features of a law practice to permit the lawyer to focus on the actual “practice” of law.

5 disadvantages/risks of running a VLP
  1. 1. Isolation
  2. 2. Retention and return of law office data
  3. 3. Confidentiality
  4. 4. Competency of providing unbundled legal services
  5. 5. Unauthorized practice of law in other jurisdictions

Definition 1
A virtual law practice is a professional law practice that exists online through a secure portal and is accessible to both the client and the lawyer anywhere the parties may access the Internet. http://apps.americanbar.org/abastore/products/books/abstracts/5110707_Ch1.pdf

Definition 2

Definition 3
The term elawyering or e-lawyering (sometimes stylized eLawyering) is a neologism used to refer to the practice of law over the Internet, in a way more expansive than a mere legal related internet advertisement for a service, lawyer, or law firm. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elawyering