My older brother (who is a physicist and computer genius) once suggested to me that computers could replace the jury system. He said that a computer program could be made that would account for all the different types of facts and then, after entering all the facts, arrive at the “correct” decision based on our legal rules.
I’m skeptical. One thing I know for sure is that people are emotional actors and thinkers. We organize our societies and our laws on a sense of justice and social interaction that comes from a soul or instinctual level. Justice is not based on our brains; it is based on our hearts. That just cannot be duplicated by a computer — at least, certainly not yet. So long as legal disputes are about governing human relationships and behavior towards each other (whether family, business or even anti-social behavior like in the criminal law), then humans will need to run the system.
Which brings me to a common question I get asked: why should people hire lawyers to draft documents when you can use a software, like Legal Zoom, to create them for you. Right off the bat, I will say that I like services like Legal Zoom. They are a good tool in the right circumstances. Access to the law is important for all people, not just the rich. And some documents are just not that complicated. Plus I do not see Legal Zoom and its ilk to be any competition to me.
Why don’t I see legal document creation services as competition for me? Because software cannot replace good human judgment. Those services cannot replace me, anymore than Web MD replaces your doctor. This video explains why.
So software can be a tool in your belt. But do not think that it can replace legal counsel. At Bellatrix PC, we use software as a way to streamline our services to provide more value to our clients for the same price. In other words, we do not waste time writing the same documents over and over again; we use software to reduce clerical work so that we can focus on provide advice and adding sophistication to our documents (rather than just the cut and paste). (While that’s another topic, you also want to avoid the “cut and paste” lawyer!)
Sometimes people ask: “I’ve used a software program to create legal documents for my business. Why do I still need a lawyer?” It’s because lawyers have the experience needed to address your goals and recommend actions. Software cannot perfectly duplicate good human judgment. And you may not know what the legal implications are of the documents without advice. For example, the law uses terms that have developed precise meanings over centuries, going back all the way to Medieval England. A lawyer can spot such things right away. Another example: legal documents can affect your taxes and how liability is assigned. You may unintentionally cause yourself or your loved ones to become responsible for taxes or liabilities. A little legal advice now can give you peace of mind for the future. Got more questions? Visit us at bellatrixlaw.com for more answers or to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.
You can see more of Alicia Dearn’s videos and insights on her YouTube Channel.