It appears that Google is bringing its fearsome powers of information organization to the legal world:
Traditional lawyers may not like it, but venture capitalists are pouring money into one of the last industries to resist commoditization on the Web. Google Ventures today announced it is part of a group that infused $18.5 million into Rocket Lawyer, which bills itself as the “fastest growing online legal service.”
. . . . Rocket Lawyer provides online legal forms, from wills to Delaware certificates of incorporation, that non-lawyers can fill out and store and share on the Web. For $19.95 a month, consumers can also have their documents reviewed by a real lawyer and even get legal advice at no additional cost.
There is not much to say about this, other than the landscape is littered with predictions about how the internet will bring about the end of the practice of law as we know it. I doubt that "traditional lawyers" will have much of an objection to this "Google Maps-ization" of the legal world, as an article in the ABA Journal puts it. I know lawyers (myself included) who begin a general legal search using Google, simply because it is faster than logging into Westlaw or Lexis. And, as I am sure that my colleague Daniel Gravel would agree, you don't necessarily need an attorney to prepare a simple will.
However, if you need something more complicated than that, you might need to consult someone who is trained in a particular discipline. Indeed, even Rocket Lawyer provides access to its attorneys for a monthly fee. Just as a savvy internet consumer will consult medical websites to self-treat heartburn but not heart disease, so too will legal consumers use services like Rocket Lawyer to address their basic needs. There will always be a place for solid, client-oriented legal practitioners to help with the rest.