We all know that do-it-yourself or DIY has become big business. Millennials love DIY. For example, DIY home improvement market is forecasted to be 680 billion USD by 2025. That’s just 5 years from now.
What about DIY law? Is this possible? Is that a trend anywhere in the world? Would you not like to know?
I came across the potential of DIY law for the first time from one of our ClikLawyer clients. He called us for some advice from Aurangabad in Maharashtra. Then he asked if we can draft his consumer complaint, which he would then argue on his own.
That was interesting. We were not going to provide any services in Aurangabad. However, here the client was interested in arguing his own matter but just wanted some guidance and drafting support so he could make his own case.
We did it, and the person got the relief he wanted. It worked out fairly cheap for him.
It is not as common for people to handle their own litigation themselves, though it often makes sense given how much lawyers charge and how little the average person trusts lawyers in India.
However, a bigger market for DIY is in documentation – such as contracts and legal notices. I have an entrepreneur friend who drafts his own legal notices and settles his own disputes but calls me up beforehand to get some legal knowledge or to just confirm that he is on the right track. Sometimes he wants me to check out what he drafted too.
Here is a conversation we had recently, about a couple of months back.
Now I know a lot of you are getting worried and anxious, thinking that this is bad for lawyers.
I do not think so. It is not bad for lawyers at all. It is great.
Most Indians do not ever hire any lawyers in their life. They do not engage with the legal system even when they have a problem. If DIY makes legal resources available to them, then it’s amazing, because the size of the pie increases at that point.
And DIY doesn’t mean lawyers have no role to play. DIY litigants and clients will still need legal help. They will buy templates, pay for advanced research, use DIY tools built by lawyers, and pay for advice to get their ideas validated.
So ride the horse in the direction it’s going, and don’t try to look the other way, because that’s the recipe for getting trampled. You are probably in its way, anyway!
DIY doesn’t mean the end of lawyering as we know. In fact, for many years, it will just be a trend on the horizon, a peripheral movement in all probability. This is what has happened in more advanced economies so far, which probably reflects on how things may play out in India over the years.
DIY law in the USA
It has been a trend in the US for quite a while, and while it has created a new way of pursuing legal recourse, it has not destroyed the legal industry as some may speculate or fear. There are several DIY legal service providers that have done really well, starting with LegalZoom, which is a listed company. RocketLawyer is a DIY document preparation platform that is funded by Google. FindLegalForms and LawDepot are also doing extremely well, and have really good reviews online.
What does this mean for you?
I recently wrote about how the biggest change in the legal industry in the last two decades has been the empowerment of clients. Lawyers had it easier in the previous generation. If they owned a set of AIR and SCC volumes, that meant they had access to monopolized knowledge that clients could not access.
That has changed, as there are hundreds of blogs telling clients what they would like to know. Case laws are openly available on the internet, now even in local languages.
That means clients spend time researching their own case on Google. They are likely to have read more case law than you have related to their particular matter.
Hence, you cannot earn money simply by offering some basic advice. If your drafting is poor, the client will know. If you did not argue well in the court, the client can tell.
And on top of that, there are people like us, training business executives on legal intricacies related to their business, and business folks love to learn the law.
Hence, you have to really add value to your clients to survive and retain your clients. Average, unspecialized, low-skill lawyers survived and even thrived for hundreds of years, but the time is up. It is open-season on those lawyers.
I think they have even started to feel the heat. I am writing about DIY law to emphasize on how deep, absolute and irreversible this change in power dynamics between the lawyer and the client is.
The lawyers in the previous generation could survive by hook or by crook, even by fooling their clients. Those days are gone. You fool one client, he would write a bad review about you online, or even in a WhatsApp group, which you may come to know about only several months later or never at all. Even if you manage to keep bad reviews away somehow, word of mouth is going to keep you down. And the good lawyers will have tons of good reviews, positive word of mouth, strong and growing brand and will always be miles ahead because the growth of information technology means that goods words also travel far and fast.
That’s how it is. The new age of law practice is here.
There was never a better time to build ethical law practices that put the client’s interest first. There was never a better time to be at the forefront of educating your clients, building a system for delighting your clients at every step and building a relationship that is predicated on trust and quality of work.
We have a course that teaches you how to grow a law practice in an environment like that: Certificate Course in Legal Practice Development and Management
That changes one more thing. You need to keep learning and growing as a lawyer. There would be a massive premium on lawyers who have a cutting edge, cross-functional knowledge, and specialized expertise, apart from skills that are demonstrated in their track record.
Not learning anymore because you do not have time is not an option. It is as important, if not more important in the long run, as attending to the calls of a paying client. Those lawyers who keep learning and growing will be at the top of the charts.
What are the new legal skills you would like to learn? What skills and knowledge can help you to grow a bit better at your work, or take on new kinds of clients? Respond and let me know. I would love to hear your thoughts on this because I am always trying to figure out what are the courses I must build next.
Below are some radical, cutting edge, practical, skill development courses in which we are currently taking admission, up to 15th of September. I promise you will see the difference in the first month after joining, and if not, take 100% money back. Here is our refund policy.
So, details of the courses:
Executive Certificate Courses