Need a doctor? There’s definitely an app or two for that, and scores of websites too to search for a physician and healthcare provider. Now, the legal services industry is catching up with its counterparts in the medical field and other sectors and developing technology to help users find an attorney. And the trend is making it easier for small businesses and entrepreneurs who can’t afford to keep a law firm on a retainer or have an in-house counsel to access lawyers for their special needs.
Among the first legal sites developed was online documentation site, LegalZoom.com, a website founded in 2001 where a layperson can access standard legal documents and prepare routine papers such as wills, living trusts and trademarks. According to website entrepreneur.com, a new mantle of legal startups are beginning to take shape and they’re coming in a garden variety. While entrepreneur.com calls the models as “disparate but flourishing,” it is allowing legal professionals to create sophisticated profiles that helping them build a strong referral network. There’s wirelawyer.com that allows lawyers to connect with colleagues and alumni networks and is designed for small to mid-sized firms. The site touts itself as “creating the biggest virtual law firm in the world.” PrioriLegal is another referral site (in beta testing) that helps entrepreneurs and business leaders connect with a network of lawyers who can best assist them with their legal needs – sort of acting as the middleman between small businesses and attorneys. Up Counsel, according to entrepreneur.com, enables lawyers to bid on matters through an online marketplace with traditional rating system. Then, there is Shake, highly customizable contractual agreements on your phone.