This is a guest blog from Jeff Bell, CEO of LegalShield

Today in 2017, access to justice in the United States lags behind other developed nations despite our fundamental rights to free speech and religion plus a stable judicial process and rule of law. When, not if, the average citizen needs a lawyer, they are often scared off by the cost or are not confident that an attorney can solve their problem. Let’s fast forward five years to 2022 and look into what it really means to live freely in the U.S. with respect to legal services. The answer lies within the disruptive model of group legal services plans.

Although much has been written recently about the mechanics of legal plans, whether pre-paid, subscription, or insurance, we believe that those details should be irrelevant to the consumer now and in 2022.

First meet Ashley, who is getting married next week on July 15, 2022. She knows that her employer pays for LegalShield benefits but does she need to do anything? Is it too late?

Ashley has a law firm in the palm of her hand and it’s not too late. We all see that the smartphone has become the remote control for your life. As you plan to get married, you will push on button and speak to your law firm about preparations, including a prenuptial agreement. Indeed, you will be able to answer some simple questions and send the answers securely to your law firm to facilitate that conversation. The same simple and convenient process will exist for all estate planning – your last will and testament, durable power of attorney for healthcare, etc. You will answer simple, plain English questions right on your smartphone, and send them securely to your law firm. You see, in the future, the relationship is with a law firm, not a random lawyer. A law firm will handle any question and any area of law all with the touch of a button.

This closes the education gap because with a law firm at your fingertips, you will not hesitate to ask when you have big life events like a marriage or new job. Your firm and the chatbots used to gather information will ask the right questions to make sure that you access all the benefits in your plan. Getting people to talk to the lawyer is half the challenge and by treating the law as a right rather than a privilege Ashley knows to look to her mobile legal services app just like she would look at a doctor’s app.

Next meet Steve, who has just been pulled over as he is suspected of drinking and driving after his 2022 holiday party. He is being charged with a DUI, what does he do next?

As Steve is in the presence of law enforcement, whether a DUI or any other traffic issue, he can immediately access his law firm for advice and counsel and support – 24/7/365. Again, one mobile app to push one button to speak to your law firm and get the representation you need. Bad things happen to good people and good people sometimes do bad things, but everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and everyone needs the support of legal counsel when faced with criminal charges. That support should never be further than one touch away for all citizens to be free.

In 2022, attorneys are now viewed as affordable, responsive, and accountable because access to legal service is facilitated by technology including mobile applications, artificial intelligence, and real lawyers freed up to practice law. A mobile app will send simple questions about life events to trigger push notifications and reminders to use the legal plan.

Finally, meet Maddie and Jake who are thinking of starting a business at the end of 2022 but are afraid of the cost of a startup lawyer. Where do they go to find affordable advice to start and then run the business? Or should they do it themselves?

Maddie and Jake should be able to start a business and receive advice and support without fear of high hourly rates or a lack of unresponsiveness from a lawyer and law firm. While the internet has revolutionized our lives, it has led people to believe that they can “do it yourself,” and unfortunately that is too often untrue. Filling out and filing legal forms to start a business needs the support of a qualified lawyer and law firm. In the future, there should not only be a great deal of information to help everyone become more informed and confident in how the law functions – whether to start a business or live life freely as a citizen – but also easy to understand processes to engage with a law firm to either create a legal entity for a new business or address business or personal legal issues and opportunities.  Maddie and Jake can follow a process where they answer natural language questions, without legal gobbledygook, about what they wish to do with their business, and how they wish to form it, and then submit that for review by their law firm. A lawyer will be involved every single time a new business is created.

They are involved not to slow the process, but to ensure that the right questions are asked and answered, and that the correct elections and selections are made.  Moreover, their new business entity will be supported by the law firm that helped create it for at least 90 days, and perhaps permanently.

In life, law happens, so you need to use legal services regularly, not only when there is a crisis or calamity. The future will be one where citizens and lawyers both win. Citizens will be better informed and prepared and engaged with the law, and lawyers will be more utilized and responsive and accountable. Free citizens are those that do not have to worry or puzzle over what their legal needs might be.

In 2022, attorneys are now viewed affordable, responsive, and accountable because access to legal is facilitated by technology including mobile applications and artificial intelligence, which in turn frees up the lawyers to practice law.

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Showing 3 comments
  • Jill
    Reply

    Dear Mr. Bell,
    Thank you for sharing that informative blog! Very informative!

    Sincerely,

    Jill Foley

  • Dave Norby
    Reply

    Jeff, Great article but we already have much of that in place already! Is this company great or what.
    Dave Norby, LegalShield Associate in DeForest, WI.

  • Jordan Schuezle
    Reply

    I really enjoy articles like this. My favorite line: “You see, in the future, the relationship is with a law firm, not a random lawyer.” Very few of the technology options out there now emphasis the ongoing attorney client relationship.

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