21 in the year 2020

Michael CarabashIt’s 2020. You’re in Toronto and in need of legal services. Your will is outdated because all your children are now married with children of their own. Meanwhile, your thriving business needs to be incorporated for liability, expansion, and tax-planning purposes. Finally, you need representation to help you fight some speeding and parking tickets.

So, naturally, you turn to the Internet to quickly find cost-effective professional legal services. By this time, the Ontario government and Law Society of Upper Canada have made Dynamic Legal Forms (wishful thinking?) the legal intake centre of choice for the general public. You start off by telling Dynamic Legal Forms what your preferred language is. Then you proceed to a dashboard where a range of legal services are displayed. A website-generated assistant pops up on the screen and starts asking you in your preferred language what legal services you’re interested in. You say “I need a will”.

The next screen requires that you respond to a number of questions to complete your legal post. Included in your post are things such as:
• your geographic location;
• what service(s) you need performed;
• your timeline for starting/completing those services;
• your budget (if any);
• what language(s) you would like the service providers to speak;
• whether you prefer domestic or international service providers; and
• a limit on the number of responses you would like to receive.

You review the post and then submit it. The post is made anonymously and is absolutely free of charge. All you’re required to input is your e-mail address, which does not show up in your post and is only used to route bids from service providers back to you for consideration.

You’ll go back to the main dashboard and submit additional posts under the following categories: “Incorporate”, “Business Agreements”, “Residential Real Estate Transaction”, “Civil Litigation”, and “Highway Traffic Tickets”.

When you’re finished, you’re asked whether you would like to do an annual legal checkup. You agree. It only takes a few minutes and you’re asked a number of questions to determine if you require any further legal services – or whether anyone you might know may be in need of them. You realize through answering the annual legal checkup’s questions that you do need to update your website and will need someone to help you put together a new website development agreement with your web designer supplier. With all said and done, you close your internet browser and go on living your life.

Behind the scenes, Dynamic Legal Forms has already packaged your posts and disseminated them to various legal service providers, whose job is to assess the legal requirements and respond with an outline of the project scope with details concerning quotes and timelines. The legal service providers could be sole practitioners working at home halfway across the world. They have been certified to practice law in Ontario, so they are permitted to bid on the work. They are registered to receive certain types of work, for which they specialize. Other legal service providers could be large multinational firms comprised of legal and non-legal personnel.

So how unlikely is any of this to actually happen? Well, if I could paraphrase Richard Susskind (once again): the future is not out there somewhere waiting to be found. It’s here and now and ready to be created by us.

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