Virtual Law, Affordable Legal Services and Access to Justice

Back in March I wrote a post about the Austin Bar Association’s “People’s Law School,” a program intended, in part, to address access to justice issues related to education and resources supporting pro se representation. So I was interested to see Donna Seyle’s take on addressing access to justice issues through wider adoption of Web 2.0 technology. She noted in a recent post on her Law Practice Strategy blog that:

  • The lower cost structure of virtual law practice could make legal services more affordable to more people, and
  • Broader, more innovative implementation of IT solutions could address barriers to information, processes and other resources.

What impressed me most about the post, though, were the ethical underpinnings of Seyle’s argument:

“Yes, offering consumers affordable services is a great way to create a market for your practice. But the advantages of affordability also spill over to one of the great tenets of our profession: access to justice. I would argue that the advancement of this right is as paramount as any security and privacy challenge posed by the use of cloud-based practice management platforms.”

In other words, virtual law and innovative IT make for good business and good policy.

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