Lawyer puts services online

How many lawyers does it take to set up a Web site? Ask Christchurch lawyer Mark Smith. He has set up a Web site providing legal services online. He describes the concept as being like putting a suburban law office on to an ATM. He believes a Web site is ideal for run-of-the-mill legal services.

How many lawyers does it take to set up a Web site?

Ask Christchurch lawyer Mark Smith. He has set up a Web site providing legal services online. He describes the concept as being like putting a suburban law office on to an ATM.

The site has been running for only two weeks but has already provided a number of wills for people. Wills are provided free (that may change in future), and for a charge the site also provides discretionary family trust deeds, assigning a power of attorney and acknowledging or forgiving debt.

A number of other services are in the pipeline. They include the legal formalities required in forming a company, a variety of property transactions, commercial documents and family law.

Smith came up with the concept about three years ago.

"It really was a germ of an idea — the technology wasn't up to it back then."

The development itself took about a year, with the help of Christchurch ISP Plain Communications, which developed Cybermall.

Smith says his site is part of the inevitability of the growth of commerce on the Net. He believes a Web site is ideal for run-of-the-mill legal services.

He believes there is potential for similar Web sites not only in law but other services such as accounting or even simple aspects of medicine.

He says he can't see technology replacing the really difficult work that lawyers do such as complex commercial transactions, appearing for someone in court or strategic advice.

The site is at: www.lawonline.co.nz.

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