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New technology 'Shaking' up the legal world

New app helps small businesses draw up contracts

Technology is on the docket when it comes to sealing the legal deal for businesses, and helping entrepreneurs finalize their dreams into realities. Take for example, one San Francisco business owner. The L.A. Times reports that Joey Mucha, who runs a side business renting skee ball machines, and his business began to sky-rocket, he decided to use contracts to protect his clients and his business. Instead of using a high-priced attorney, Mocha used a smartphone app called Shake that helps draft easy-to-read contracts that customers can then sign with a swipe of their fingers on their screen.

"I don't make enough money to pay $250 an hour for a lawyer to draft a contract," Mucha told the newspaper. "But I needed something to use as a defense in a scenario where I wasn't paid, without hiring a lawyer or trying to write my own contract." The Shake app, which launched in September, has the option to create six kinds of contracts. 

The app walks users through a series of questions — Who are the two parties? How much money is involved? — and automatically fills in an agreement stripped of unnecessary legal language.

Shake is the brain-child of Abe Geiger, an entrepreneur who thought that standard contracts were too cumbersome and complicated. According to Shake’s website, they taught that “Our mission is to make the law accessible, understandable and affordable for consumers and small businesses. We want to empower our users to share ideas, goods, and services without the fear of being stiffed for a freelance gig or putting their business at risk.” Geiger said he believes that change in the legal industry will be driven by small businesses and consumers, not by lawyers and law firms.  He says that the legal market is huge, inefficient, underserved by technology and begging for change.

Shake and scores of other similar Smartphone apps are changing the face of the $200 billion legal field in the United Sates, and as a result, law firms are adapting to the shifts in the industry. According to the L.A. Times, industry experts say the industry is ripe for big tech shake-ups, including new innovations on social media and apps for smart phones and tablets.

According to the Times, the demand for legal services from low- to middle-income earners who are priced out of expensive attorneys is an estimated $45 billion "latent" market, experts say. Once ignored by the legal industry, they are now targeted by a growing number of start-ups eager to roll out innovations designed to win over tech-savvy young people.

 

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Contributing Author

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Alexis Harrison

Alexis Harrison is a Connecticut-based writer and public relations professional whose career spans both print journalism and broadcast news. Alexis started her professional life as...

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