There was an interesting article in the Washington Post about a Silicon Valley start-up that is developing a law firm that will automate some of the routine tasks that lawyers perform. The firm is developing software using artificial intelligence that will automate certain routine but complicated legal tasks – like fundraising from venture capitalists and issuing stock options to employees. The goal is to create a “law firm full of technology-turbocharged lawyers who can offer clients more efficient services for a single, transparent bill”.
I think this is a great idea that promises to deliver certain legal services more efficiently for a lower cost. There are already great services that offer form legal documents for a lower cost (like leases and contracts). While I think it’s probably a good idea to run the final document you propose to use by a lawyer to make sure it achieves what you think it does, I don’t have an aversion to well drafted legal documents offered by companies like LegalZoom and others.
The legal profession seems to have been slow to embrace technology and the concept of great customer service (I think every lawyer should read The Purple Cow by Seth Godin–it details how to create an unforgettable customer service experience). While many of my colleagues may disagree, I think that the march of technology (if not exactly robot lawyers) holds great promise for the legal profession and the clients that need the services of lawyers.