Lawyers and/or geeks, correct me if I'm wrong.
Laws are made (theoretically) by the people for the protection of the people's rights.
Yet a whole industry (okay, profession) has arisen that makes its money by charging people $2000+ for a template agreement.
They're able to do this because of inertia. Simply because that's the way they've always done it.
Isn't it time the legal profession came in for a bit of reinvention?
Here's the geeky part: laws are made for the people, (kind of) by the people. Just like an open source code base.
Others then interpret the code base in order to apply it to particular needs - as we've seen with the hundreds (thousands, even) Twitter apps that use Twitter's open API.
What if we took the same approach to law?
How much of law is just code, and not dependent on interpretations?
My Dream Scenario
I'm a business owner. I want to hire a contractor, or partner with someone on a project.
I want an agreement that is legally binding, but as an entrepreneur who does a lot of partnering, I don't want to need a lawyer on staff to get stuff done. I just want to do stuff.
Wouldn't it be great to go to a website where I and my potential partner in crime can go and fill in dynamic forms that automate the process of lawyering.
Where my partner and I work out the kind of business relationship we want to have, enter the necessary parameters, and then the software would show us areas we need to think about.
Instead of the anxiety of
- a trip to a lawyer's office
- a conversation where it's highly possible to get the details wrong (after all, you may not have all your paperwork with you)
- not knowing what you'll be paying until afterwards
- an agreement, that reflects your wishes, that is legally binding.
It's the kind of disruption that's hitting every single industry. Milk the system (music industry, lawyers) and people will live for the day when you will be automated.
Act like a valuable partner, live to serve, and move with the times, and you'll be closer to the original definition of profession.
(Awesome photo from Steve Punter!)