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September 15, 2014

How a Smartphone App Aims to Replace Attorneys

A smartphone app that allows users to create, sign and send legally binding documents is the latest tech tool developed to shake up the delivery of legal services.  And its name, aptly enough, is Shake.

Shake is the brainchild of Abe Geiger, an entrepreneur who found that standard contracts were too cumbersome and complicated to meet the needs of today’s business world, even though he has access to all the free legal advice he needs (his wife is an attorney).

As with so many other inventions, Shake started with the thought that, “There has to be a better way.”

Smartphone App Legal Services

With some Silicon Valley VC funding, Geiger and his team set out on their mission, which is posted on their website:

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.

Sounds like he has more than one reason to shake things up.

Carolyn Elefant, who blogs about solos and small firms at MyShingle.com, wrote recently in an Above the Law post that the app won’t displace real lawyers because the people who want to use an app or a website for their legal documents are not likely to hire an attorney anyway.  I tend to agree.

I also agree with Geiger’s assertion that people are looking for more technology-based solutions for their legal problems, even if that “problem” is only a freelance contract or a NDA. 

What attorneys should take away from this is that the market is moving toward technology much faster than most lawyers are, and making technology solutions available to clients – something as simple as downloadable documents off a secure website – is the new way your clients are defining good customer service.

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