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British consumers 'willing to access lawyers online'

Posted by: Laurence Simons 23/08/13

Consumers in the UK are as prepared as their American counterparts to access cut-price legal forms and services online, reducing need for face-to-face consultations and reducing costs, according to the British subsidiary of US service Rocket Lawyer.

It's no surprise this scheme is set to be popular, given that we are slowly moving towards a world where personal interaction is permanently mediated through a technological gauze and all decision-makers are being replaced by computerised algorithms.

Ultimately, lawyers are like supermarket attendants - easily replaced by machines. Sure, the automated check-out process is an intense mix of depersonalisation and frustration, and frightens old ladies, but there's no denying that it's cheaper than dealing with actual people.

Hopefully Rocket Lawyer will provide a more efficient service than the Co-Op, though, and early signs have suggested it has the capabilities to do so.

Its website lets members generate legal documents from online templates and to have one free 30-minute consultation a month with a lawyer from a panel of firms, reports the Law Gazette.

"We've found the UK pretty much the same as the US in terms of documents requested and people's willingness to try it," said Mark Edwards, vice-president and general manager of Rocket Lawyer UK.

Some 20 per cent of members have since gone on to seek legal help from one of the 20 firms on Rocket Lawyer's panel, sadly intimating that the era of personal discussion may not have been completely destroyed.

If the business' sojourn in England proves successful, it is planning to ramp up its efforts to break the UK by opening up in Northern Ireland and Scotland, Mr Edwards added.

Presumably the next logical step is to completely replace legal experts with cloud-based computer networks, possibly powered by armies of lawyers using pedal-bikes. I for one welcome our new robot overlords.