Homework Assignment #1


1. Advantages of a virtual law practice include:
  • lower startup and ongoing overhead costs (no office rent, travel time, etc.)
  • mobility (work from almost anywhere)
  • reach a wider range of potential clients (state-wide as opposed to city-wide or regional)
  • better work-life balance
  • be your own boss!
Disadvantages:
  • harder to cultivate attorney-client relationship and trust
  • having to overcome impression of some that you are not a "serious" lawyer if you're only practicing online
  • assuring that you are following ABA rules that dictate protection of client data and confidentiality
  • must be fairly tech savvy and facile with web-based collaboration and communication tools
  • reaching clients who have poor tech skills or are leery of using computers to conduct serious business

2. Three definitions of eLawyering or "virtual law practice":
a) "According to the American Bar Association guidelines, eLawyering or virtual law practice refers specifically to the delivery of legal services online through a section of a law firm's web site that is a known as a secure "client portal."" (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_law_firm#eLawyering)

b) "eLawyering is doing legal work - not just marketing - over the Web....ELawyering encompasses all the ways in which lawyers can do their work using the Web and associated technologies." (Source: http://apps.americanbar.org/dch/committee.cfm?com=EP024500)

c) "The ABA Elawyering Task Forcetells us that, “[t]o be successful in the coming era, lawyers will need to know how to practice over the Web, manage client relationships in cyberspace, and ethically offer “unbundled” services.” Bullshit." (Source: http://www.legalpracticepro.com/virtual-law-firm-evolution/) *

*Just thought I'd provide a naysayer's viewpoint! Jay Fleischman provides some interesting arguments *against* the idea of eLawyering in this unabashedly opinionated blog post on his consulting site.


Homework Assignment #2

Part 1.1 Five advantages to document automation: saves time, saves money (over time), logic-based (knows what to put where), consistent output, reduces job-related stress and frustration
Part 1.2 Five pitfalls/disadvantages to document automation: customization more difficult, requires additional software, some data entry errors don't get caught, may be difficult to master for some users, some templates may not exist

Part 2
(pending)

Homework Assignment #3


1. It appears that the Orange County Court does not yet allow e-filing, but the program is still in its pilot phase. You must go through training before being granted access to the system, which is accessible via
https://www.efiling.nccourts.org/. Unfortunately, at the moment the pilot is limited to just three NC counties (Davidson, Chowan, and Wake, the last of which is where the state capital--Raleigh--is located). I noticed that the system is "powered by eFlex from Tybera." It looks like you can file separately at the state appellate level and to the state Supreme Court via http://www.ncappellatecourts.org/.
The federal district court does allow e-filing through its national CM/ECF system (Case Management/Electronic Case Files). That link is http://www.ncmd.uscourts.gov/cmecf/index.htm.

2. See above. The answer is no at the county level since this system is still in its pilot phase. It appears this is also true at the state supreme court level. I don't believe the federal district court allows self-representing e-filing, from what I could gather.

3. Yes, in all cases, you can view the court calendars. Here are links:
http://www.ncmd.uscourts.gov/Calendar/calendar.htm (Federal District)
http://appellate.nccourts.org/calendar.php (State Supreme Court & Appellate Courts)
http://www.nccourts.org/County/Orange/Calendars.asp (county, multiple subcalendars)

4. Yes, all the websites at each level included downloadable forms. Here are a couple examples:
http://www.nccourts.org/Forms/FormSearch.asp
http://www.ncmd.uscourts.gov/forms.htm

Homework Assignment #4


1. Two discrete tasks that could be unbundled: A) filing a will B) requesting a title search
2. I think either of the two above tasks would make great standalone apps. Maybe I need to develop them!
3. Risks to unbundling services: client-attorney relationship may be diminished, greater potential for identity spoofing, greater potential for legal malpractice/practicing without a license
4. Again, I could see building an app for preparing and filing a will, with maybe an in-app purchase option for additional real-time chat advice. Even if you built a nice interface that answered most questions and walked someone through a basic will preparation, it's likely they would have questions at some point. You could give away the app but charge for the additional "premium" legal consultation piece, which could be administered via Skype (video chat) or iMessage (for iPhones) or some other generic IM platform.

Extra credit: I added an additional site for my state of NC and added one for my home state of PA.

Homework Assignment #5

I found several potential "primary source" websites for the state of NC:
http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=NC+legal+cases+codes+statutes&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

I've added what I felt were the best of these to the NC section of the A-Z state listings page on the wiki.

Homework Assignment #6


From Facebook:
(Clause 2) Sharing Your Content and Information

You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition:
  1. For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.
  2. When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar to emptying the recycle bin on a computer. However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others).
  3. When you use an application, your content and information is shared with the application. We require applications to respect your privacy, and your agreement with that application will control how the application can use, store, and transfer that content and information. (To learn more about Platform, read our Privacy Policy and Platform Page.)
  4. When you publish content or information using the Public setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture).
  5. We always appreciate your feedback or other suggestions about Facebook, but you understand that we may use them without any obligation to compensate you for them (just as you have no obligation to offer them).

From LinkedIn:
(Clause 2.B) License and warranty for your submissions to LinkedIn.

You own the information you provide LinkedIn under this Agreement, and may request its deletion at any time, unless you have shared information or content with others and they have not deleted it, or it was copied or stored by other users. Additionally, you grant LinkedIn a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual, unlimited, assignable, sublicenseable, fully paid up and royalty-free right to us to copy, prepare derivative works of, improve, distribute, publish, remove, retain, add, process, analyze, use and commercialize, in any way now known or in the future discovered, any information you provide, directly or indirectly to LinkedIn, including, but not limited to, any user generated content, ideas, concepts, techniques or data to the services, you submit to LinkedIn, without any further consent, notice and/or compensation to you or to any third parties. Any information you submit to us is at your own risk of loss as noted in Sections 2 and 3 of this Agreement.

By providing information to us, you represent and warrant that you are entitled to submit the information and that the information is accurate, not confidential, and not in violation of any contractual restrictions or other third party rights. It is your responsibility to keep your LinkedIn profile information accurate and updated.

I chose these two sites since they represent the leaders in social media, but with one (Facebook) being much more widely adopted for *personal* reasons and the other adopted primarily for *business/professional* reasons. Both state that you, the end-user, own the information posted online, while also issuing the disclaimer that shared content cannot be guaranteed to have been deleted if it was previously shared with other users or the public. It is uncanny how similar both clauses are insofar as granting the site "non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license" (Facebook) and "nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual, unlimited, assignable, sublicenseable, fully paid up and royalty-free right" (LinkedIn) to all IP content you provide or post. I knew that already, but reading it makes an impression! What's interesting is that LinkedIn explicitly states what they can then do with that content("to copy, prepare derivative works of, improve, distribute, publish, remove, retain, add, process, analyze, use and commercialize, in any way now known or in the future discovered, any information you provide, directly or indirectly to LinkedIn, including, but not limited to, any user generated content, ideas, concepts, techniques or data to the services, you submit to LinkedIn, without any further consent, notice and/or compensation to you or to any third parties.") So basically, if you share a brilliant business concept on LinkedIn but they beat you to market, you're screwed!

Here's my standardized clause using the above two examples:
You own all of the content and information you post on <the site>, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. This applies to both third-party and native applications. You understand that while you may delete any content at any time, <the site> cannot guarantee that all such content will be permanently removed since other users with whom you choose to share may have copied some or all of said content. Additionally,
you grant <the site> a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual, unlimited, assignable, sublicenseable, fully paid up and royalty-free right to us to copy, prepare derivative works of, improve, distribute, publish, remove, retain, add, process, analyze, use and commercialize, in any way now known or in the future discovered, any information you provide, directly or indirectly to <the site>, including, but not limited to, any user generated content, ideas, concepts, techniques or data to the services, you submit to <the site>, without any further consent, notice and/or compensation to you or to any third parties. This holds true until such time when you choose to delete any such content as described above, assuming it has not been saved or copied by others with whom you chose to share it.

By providing information to us, you represent and warrant that you are entitled to submit the information and that the information is accurate, not confidential, and not in violation of any contractual restrictions or other third party rights.


Homework Assignment #7


1.) Review of A2J interface:

2.) Suggestions for A2J Mobile:

Homework Assignment #8


1.) Unauthorized practice of law defined:
"Except as otherwise permitted by law, it shall be unlawful for any person or association of persons, except active
members of the Bar of the State of North Carolina admitted and licensed to practice as attorneys-at-law, to appear as
attorney or counselor at law in any action or proceeding before any judicial body, including the North Carolina
Industrial Commission, or the Utilities Commission; to maintain, conduct, or defend the same, except in his own behalf
as a party thereto; or, by word, sign, letter, or advertisement, to hold out himself, or themselves, as competent or
qualified to give legal advice or counsel, or to prepare legal documents, or as being engaged in advising or counseling in
law or acting as attorney or counselor-at-law, or in furnishing the services of a lawyer or lawyers; and it shall be
unlawful for any person or association of persons except active members of the Bar, for or without a fee or
consideration, to give legal advice or counsel, perform for or furnish to another legal services, or to prepare directly or
through another for another person, firm or corporation, any will or testamentary disposition, or instrument of trust, or
to organize corporations or prepare for another person, firm or corporation, any other legal document." (Source: first URL below)

2.) Links:
http://www.ncbar.gov/PDFs/upl_statutes.pdf

http://www.ncbar.gov/programs/upl.asp

3.) Articles/blogposts:
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2015219639_fakelawyer03m.html (good story from Seattle on bogus website that offered unlawful legal advice)

http://estatestreet.blogspot.com/2011/08/estate-planning-fraud-alert_04.html (on class action suit against LegalZoom in Missouri; and a separate case against them in CA)

http://www.thenewstoday.info/2006/12/21/us.immigration.consultant.an.unlawful.practice.of.the.law.html

Homework Assignment #9


1.) http://twitter.com/stephkimbro (one of the earliest and best-known virtual lawyers, and one who tweets effectively to generate interest and raise potential clients' awareness)
http://twitter.com/#!/salcidolaw (Utah-based firm that does a nice job using Twitter to educate and cultivate potential clients)
http://www.linkedin.com/company/alston-&-bird-llp/statistics?goback=%2Ecps_1273088530996_1 (an example of a law firm leveraging LinkedIn effectively, with stats on distribution of job functions, years experience, university attended and more)

2.) Seems like many firms that create company profiles on LinkedIn don't have anyone assigned to keeping the page fresh by posting updates or articles. Just a general observation.