Posts Tagged ‘lawyers’

Good Legal Writing

30 Jul

What is good legal writing?

I want you to think about this question … hard and long!

What is your goal?

  • Impress the judge?
  • Confuse the opponent?
  • Or, win the case?

Everything we do in life has in one sense or another a particular goal. Some things we do are automatic, like breathing, yet there is always a goal. In business, the goal is to provide a benefit to others. In sports, the goal is to perform to the highest of our athletic ability. In law, the goal is to make a winning record in writing!

Many lawyers and most pro se litigants miss this point … they get sidetracked with unimportant distractions!

Every word spoken in a courtroom or written on paper filed with the clerk or served on the other side must aim toward this specific goal.

All words that aren’t aimed at making a winning record must go!

Since 1997 when Jurisdictionary began, people have sent documents for review. In all but a few the punch, power, and persuasive effect could be improved by eliminating 90% of the words and by keeping only those aimed at making a winning record.

Most of what came for review read more like the writer was trying to tell a story, rather than trying to make a winning court record of relevant facts and controlling law!

Learn from Jurisdictionary step-by-stepLegal writing is NOT story-telling!

Any fact that’s not “relevant” and any law that’s not “controlling” should be eliminated.

I rebuilt a few car engines in my youth. I removed bolts, nuts, gaskets, and pins. I placed the removed parts on a sheet of cardboard on the floor of my garage. All was arranged neatlyin order. When the time came to put the engine back together, every part had a place, and that’s where I put each part … in its place!

A place for every part. Every part in its place.

I didn’t add any parts! I didn’t leave any parts out!

That’s good legal writing!

Every word has a purpose … to make your winning record.

More years ago than I like to remember, I worked as a reporter for the Tampa Times newspaper. My city editor was ruthless with my writing. I learned from him. Since being admitted to the bar in 1986, I’ve applied what he taught me. “Say what needs to be said then stop!

What was true for newspaper writing is doubly true for legal writing.

Say what needs to be said and stop!

Write like you were “speaking” to an 8th grader. You aren’t Jimmy Buffet. You don’t need a “novelist’s eye” or a “bartender’s ear”. You aren’t telling a story! You’re assembling essential parts of a powerful engine.

That’s what good legal writing does! Each part has a specific purpose.

What I teach will empower your legal paperwork and give you the competitive edge you need to win!


Protect Yourself From Lawyers

30 Jul

Win with Jurisdictionary!

… Especially Your Own Who is Taking Your Money!

It’s easy to learn how to win with Jurisdictionary!

If you’re like most people, you don’t have a clue what it takes to win a lawsuit.

If you have a lawyer, you don’t have a clue what your lawyer should be doing or how you might get involved in your case to reduce legal fees and costs.

If you don’t have a lawyer, you go to court blindfolded, with one had tied behind your back!

If you hire a lawyer, you pay the lawyer, tell the lawyer about your problem, leave your problem with the lawyer, take your chances, and hope for the best!

There IS another way!

A nice lady contacted us for help. Her lawyer promised to file an appeal after the court ruled against her. The lawyer never filed! The deadline to file ran out. Her winnable case is lost forever!

A nice man paid his lawyer $60,000. No discovery was done. No evidence was uncovered. The case was lost. His $60,000 bought absolutely nothing!

Too often people hire lawyers who are afraid to stand up to arrogant judges, too timid to press opponents for evidence, unwilling to fight tooth-and-nail for rights the lawyer promised to protect, or simply bailing out at the last moment, leaving their clients to fight their legal battles alone. Perhaps you know good people who suffered at the hands of their own lawyers. If so, we’d like to hear from you. Send your stories to:

Legal malpractice is on the rise, yet most people have no idea how to stop it, whether it’s a crooked lawyer on the other side or your own lawyer!

People who pay lawyers, instead of going pro se, frequently end up holding the bag when the lawyer they hire bails our or wimps out, so they lose and never know why!

Good people should never lose in our courts … whether they can afford a lawyer or not!

But, the vast majority don’t know where to turn to find out for themselves what it takes to win … whether they go pro se without a lawyer or dig into their life’s savings to pay someone to represent them.

And, far too many good people rely on stupid ideas offered by amateurs who send out emails or hold weekend seminars. Not wise!

Jurisdictionary was created by a lawyer with more than a quarter-century of case-winning experience controlling judges and lawyers with nothing more than a common-sense knowledge of the Rules of Court and how to use them!

Only YOU can protect yourself from lawyers!

There is NO SUBSTITUTE for knowing what it takes to win … whether you can afford the most expensive legal team or barely afford to put food on your family’s table.


Jurisdictionary shows you what needs to be done and makes iteasy-to-understand – whether you do it yourself as a pro se or hire a lawyer to do it for you. You’ll know how pleadings and motions should be drafted. You’ll know what must be done to force the other side to produce evidence. You’ll know the objections that must be made when the opposition tries to trick you with legalese or smoke-and-mirrors tactics.

You’ll know what it takes to keep judges honest ! ! !

Without the easy-to-learn Jurisdictionary lawsuit self-help course, you’re at the mercy of the lawyer on the other side, you’re at the mercy of the judge and, if you have a lawyer, you’re at the mercy of your very own lawyer!

Without Jurisdictionary knowledge, you needlessly risk losing!

Don’t become another sad lawsuit story! There are far too many already!

Let Jurisdictionary show you how easy it is to know what it takes to win!

If you must hire a lawyer you’ll know what should be done. You won’t pay for incompetence or laziness. You won’t let your own lawyer cheat you! You’ll know how to demand the effective legal services you’re paying for!

If you can’t afford a lawyer, you’ll know how to force the court to protect your rights and the rights of those you love by enforcing the Rules of Court!

Learn from Jurisdictionary step-by-stepIt’s easy with the affordable 24-hour Jurisdictionary course.

Learn how to control the court — step-by-step … in just 24 hours!

Go to to learn more!

Forward this Tips & Tactics to your friends. They’ll thank you for it.

Winners know how to control the court using the official Rules of Court!

BE A WINNER … Learn how to use the Rules of Court to win!

If you don’t yet know what we teach, you cannot imagine how much fun it is to force people to do what’s right … even when they don’t want to!

You have POWER TO CONTROL JUDGES once you know what the course explains so clearly an 8th grader can learn it all in just 24 hours!

What do you have to lose?

Losers believe in fables and get their legal education at the barbershop or expensive weekend seminars or websites run by people who never practiced law, never went to law school, and don’t know mud from sand about the Rules of Court or how to use those rules to control judges.

Jurisdictionary IS what it takes to win!

Knowing how to use the Rules of Court to control lawyers and judges really does work!

Protect yourself!

To learn more, go to:


The Pro Se Problem

30 Jul

Why Pro Se Litigants Have a Hard Time.

Many pro se people are winning.

Unfortunately, a great number who should be winning are losing … needlessly!

Going to court without a lawyer is a growing phenomenon. Whether it’s the high cost of legal fees or growing distrust of lawyers in general, the trend is for more people to fightwithout lawyers

The American Bar Association reports nearly 1/2 of all pro sefolks believe lawyers care more about their own self-interest than their client’s rights.

If you go by calls and emails Jurisdictionary receives, there’s good reason for this! Lawyers who bail at the last minute. Lawyers who don’t know what they’re doing. And, worst of all, lawyers wishing to curry favor with judges, afraid to stand up to the buffalo in the black robe and demand their clients’ rights by making timely objections and threatening appeal.

60% of pro se people say they can’t afford a lawyer.

20% say they simply don’t want to spend the money.

Nearly ½ of all court proceedings in the U.S. involve at least one pro se party … and too many of them are losing all because they don’t yet know the “rules of the game” or how to play to win!

Good people who should be winning are losing needlessly simply because they were never taught what it takes to win!

Ever ask yourself, “Why?”

Ever wonder if there might be a sinister reason nothing about law is taught to our children in schools supported by our tax dollars?

Who benefits from your legal ignorance?

You have a Constitutional right to justice.

You have a Constitutional right to go to court and win pro se!

Your rights were paid for by the blood of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for you!


Pro se people too often do not get justice.Learn from Jurisdictionary step-by-step


We at Jurisdictionary receive emails every day complaining there’s a judicial “conspiracy” against pro se litigants.

Let’s examine facts:

  1. Most pro se people know nothing about the official Rules of Evidence that control the judge and all parties and their lawyers.
  2. Most pro se people know nothing about the official Rules of Procedure that control the judge and all parties and their lawyers.
  3. Most pro se people have no idea what “due process” really is.
  4. Most pro se people can’t recognize the opposing lawyer’s dirty tricks.
  5. Most pro se people assume what “admissible evidence” is and don’t know what stuff isn’t.
  6. Most pro se people draft their pleadings and motions incorrectly – usually with far too many words!
  7. Most pro se people don’t know why it’s vital to write proposed orders for the judge to sign.
  8. Most pro se people don’t know why, when, or how to make effective objections in court.
  9. Most pro se people don’t understand what facts are critical to winning a case and what facts are of no consequence.
  10. Most pro se people muddy the legal waters with court-confusing insignificance.
  11. Most pro se people don’t know how to find and cite controlling appellate opinions in support of their motions.
  12. Most pro se people don’t arrange in advance of every proceeding to have a court stenographer present, so they can control the judge.
  13. Most pro se people waste valuable court time with non-essentials, fail to appreciate the needs of others who have other problems to bring before the court and, as a consequence, tend to make judges dread pro se cases and hate pro se people.


Pro se people who know what I explain so simply in my affordable, official, 24-hour step-by-step Jurisdictionary “How to Win in Court” self-help course winning consistently and getting compliments from judges and even opposing lawyers.

It’s so easy to learn how to do things the right way!

If you and friends were playing a game of basketball, and some bystander wanted to play but didn’t know the rules … how would you feel when he or she kept fouling and arguing he or she has a right to do as he or she pleases because she doesn’t know the rules?

Put yourself in the judges’ robes!

Many years ago, after winning a motion, an older judge asked me to stay behind after the parties left. He took me aside and said simply: “I want you to know that the case before yours today was to protect a little girl who’s grandfather thinks it’s fun to extinguish cigars on her legs.” I knew what he wanted me to know, and I never forgot. Other people’s case are serious, too.

Pro se people who know what I explain in my affordable, official, 24-hour step-by-step Jurisdictionary “How to Win in Court” self-help course don’t waste the court’s time and get justice by knowing the rules and how to use them tactically to control the judge and opposing counsel.

Winners learn the rules and how to use them!

If you want to win, get my affordable, official, 24-hour step-by-step Jurisdictionary “How to Win in Court” self-help course.


Getting Evidence – Part Three …

30 Jul



In the past two Tips & Tactics I touched on how to use “Interrogatories” and “Requests for Admissions” to get evidence into the court’s record so you can win.

In this Tips & Tactics I tell why you must learn how to use “Requests for Production” effectively.

There’s much more to it than I can tell in Tips & Tactics, of course, so you need to order my amazingly popular, case-winning, 4-CD, affordable, step-by-step, 24-hour official Jurisdictionary course everyone is talking about … and start winning today!

Requests for Production MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

If you know how to use them effectively, that is.

Both plaintiffs and defendants can use them to force an opponent toPRODUCE both documents and things of any kind, provided the documents and things requested are “reasonably calculated to lead to discovery of admissible evidence”.

That last quote is the key to all discovery of evidence. You mustremember that during the discovery phase of a lawsuit, facts sought need not be admissible at trial, if they are reasonably likely to lead to admissible evidence. Lawyers will try to “hide the ball”. Don’t let them. Learn the rules and use my amazingly popular, case-winning, 4-CD, affordable, step-by-step, 24-hour official Jurisdictionary course to know how to “use the rules” to protect yourself from the crooked, deceitful games many lawyers play!

The most common use of requests for production is to force opponents to let you examine documents, but if what you seek is “reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence”, you can require them to let you examine a toothbrush or an airplane engine or the medical instruments used to perform surgery on your knee!

Most commonly, however, what you want to see is the other side’s documents:

  1. Mortgage,
  2. Promissory Note,
  3. Credit card charge slips signed by you,
  4. Accounting statements,
  5. Cancelled checks,
  6. Phone records,
  7. Etcetera

There are quite a lot of pitfalls you must overcome or avoid if you wish to succeed with this discovery tool and win your lawsuit. In my 25 years as a case-winning lawyer, the most frequent problems I encountered (and where I learned a great deal that makes my course so valuable) was in the process of getting the other side to turn over documents and things for me to examine prior to trial.

Lawyers will put up every roadblock they can think of to keep you from “discovering” the documents and things that will give you the victory in your case. They’ll object. They will drag their feet. They’ll put everything you want in one big bankers box and leave you to sort through it all to find what you need. They will claim you shouldn’t be allowed to see certain things on the grounds that they are “trade secrets” or protected by attorney-client privilege. In my quarter-century in this business, I’ve seen it all … in all its nasty, deceitful, and treacherously creative forms.

You cannot win if you cannot force the other side to properly respond to your discovery requests!

Order my 4-CD, step-by-step, 24-hour official course, and empower yourself with Jurisdictionary know-how.

For example, if you serve your opponent with a request for production of their banking records, and they respond with their standard baloney (“objection, overbroad, unduly burdensome, not likely to lead to admissible evidence”), it is 100% certain there’s a reason why they don’t want you to see those records.

So, if you don’t know how to draft your requests in the effective way I teach in my course, and you don’t know how to force the judge toorder them to produce, you might as well give up the fight now. You cannot win!

My official Jurisdictionary course explains all this in an easy-to-learn format people tell us an average 8th grader can understand and use. That’s why my course is so very amazingly popular! Chances are someone told you about the course and encouraged you to visit my website.

Listen at (or local radio station) Monday 7-9 p.m EST for Jurisdictionary “God, Government, and the Gospel Mystery”. You can even call-in with questions or comments!

Be clever. Think through the elements of your position (plaintiff or defendant) and sort out the essential facts you need to prove from those you don’t need to prove.

Use requests for production to prove the facts alleged in yourpleadings and to dis-prove the facts alleged in your opponent’s pleadings.

Learn this NOW and overcome your enemies!

The details are explained in my course, of course.Learn from Jurisdictionary step-by-step

If you think you can waltz into court with “your own copies” of the papers you think are admissible evidence (instead of doing what I teach in my course, i.e., using requests for production to force the other side to produce those documents so they can’t object about authenticity or chain of evidence or make some other bogus complaint to keep you from seeing them) you’ll be sadly disappointed when at the very last minute, in the heated battle of trial, the other side succeeds with a motion to exclude your papers from evidence, and you lose … unnecessarily.


For very little money and about 24 hours of your time, you can know what it takes to control crooked lawyers and get your evidence admitted to the record so you can WIN!

You are entitled to get evidence into the court record! Rule 26 Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires disclosure, as do all state courts. So, why be hoodwinked or caught behind an 8-ball by your lack of knowledge about rules and what they require of opponents?

Get my official Jurisdictionary course now (if you aren’t one of the thousands of winners who already have it and its case-winning knowledge-power.

What you seek with all five (5) of your discovery tools (explained fully in my affordable Jurisdictionary course) is evidence in support of the “ultimate facts” that tend to prove the allegations of your position and disprove those of your opponent … nothing more, please!

Don’t let lawyers trick you!

You have an unquestioned right to get evidence tending to prove facts you alleged in your pleadings and disprove facts alleged in your opponent’s pleadings.

Everything else is a waste of time!

Evidence + Legal Authority = Victory in Court!

If you don’t know how to get evidence, you lose!

If you don’t understand the “elements” of lawsuits, you cannot hope to win!

Learning how is easy with my affordable, case-winning, official Jurisdictionary step-by-step, 24-hour course. If you don’t already have my course, NOW is the time to order and start learning how to avoid legal trickery so you can win your case and overcome your opponent using the official rules … instead of internet legal mythology!

You cannot win if you don’t know how to get evidence into the record using your five discovery tools and what I teach you about how to overcome crooked lawyers!

Clever argument is not enough.

Arguing “your rights” were violated is not enough.

Complaining about the Constitution is not enough.

Those who haven’t yet learned how to get evidence go to court with the idea they “already have all the evidence they need”. I hear this over and over again. People think because they have a copy of a document or photograph or audio recording that they’re sure to win. Then, when they get to trial (when it’s too late to do any more discovery) they “discover” all the stuff they thought was “evidence” is inadmissible at trial!

Why lose when it’s so easy to learn how to win?

Everyone is talking about Jurisdictionary.

People tell their friends.

People promote it on their websites.

People talk about it on social networking sites.

People blog about it and praise its power in emails.


Because Jurisdictionary works!

That’s why!

Don’t be left holding an empty evidence bag!

The decision to win is a decision to learn how to win!

Winners know how to get evidence!

My 25 years as a case-winning lawyer licensed in state and federal courts has shown me this.

Evidence wins lawsuits!

If you don’t know how to “get it”, you cannot win!

My Jurisdictionary course will show you much more about how to effectively use all your five discovery tools to get case-winning evidence into the record and force your opponent to stop “hiding the ball”!

Order Now! before the price increase and before your opponent takes advantage of your not knowing how to find evidence and get it in the court’s record!

Winning is fun!

Losing is for losers!

Learn from the leader!

Step-by-step in 24 hours!

Order Now!

Winning is easy if you do what I teach in my course!

I know what it takes to win. I practiced law nearly 25 years. I can help you, if you’re willing to learn from me!

Pro se people often do not get justice.


Let’s examine a few facts:

  1. Most pro se people don’t know the rules.
  2. Most pro se people don’t know how to prevent the lawyer on the other side from playing tricks with the rules.
  3. Most pro se people make assumptions about what is “admissible evidence” and stuff that isn’t.
  4. Most pro se people don’t know how to draft their pleadings or motions properly.
  5. Most pro se people don’t know why it’s important to write proposed orders for the judge to sign.
  6. Most pro se people don’t know why, when, or how to make effective objections in court.
  7. Most pro se people don’t understand what facts are critical to winning a case and what facts are of no consequence but only muddy the waters with court-confusing insignificance.
  8. Most pro se people don’t know why it’s so vitally important to cite controlling appellate cases in support of their pre-trial and trial motions.
  9. Most pro se people don’t know how to arrange for a written transcript to be made of all proceedings before the court, so they can control the judge.
  10. Most pro se people waste valuable court time with non-essentials, fail to appreciate the needs of others who have their own problems to bring before the court and, as a consequence, tend to make judges dread pro se cases.

Pro se people who know what I explain so simply in the official Jurisdictionary step-by-step 24-hour course are winning and even getting compliments from judges and even opposing lawyers … because they do it right!

Not all judges are “against” pro se people “just because they are pro se”. Most of the judges I knew in my 25 years were good people who cared about other people and did their best to guarantee justiceaccording to the rules.

But! You must know how to protect yourself!

Pro se parties who know the rules and how to use them to protect themselves from courtroom corruption the way my Jurisdictionary step-by-step 24-hour course makes so easy-to-understand don’t let crooked lawyers get away with their smoke-and-mirrors tricks!

It does no good to complain after losing.

The difference between winners and losers is the fact that winners learn how to win!

If you want to make it complicated and muddy the pond with all kinds of nutty arguments, you can do so, make the judge angry, and lose when your “evidence” isn’t admitted because it isn’t “admissible evidence”, etcetera.

You can demand your Constitutional Rights, instead of learning about causes of action and their elements that win lawsuits, and you will lose.

You can refuse to learn the rules of evidence, the rules of procedure, and the tactics and strategies my course is so popular for making easy to learn, and you will lose!


If you want to win, get my affordable Jurisdictionary step-by-step 24-hour course now and master the case-winning strategies and tactics I used for 25 years as a case-winning lawyer in state and federal courts.

There is only ONE “Official Jurisdictionary” course!

If you’re paying a lawyer, know what your lawyer should be doing to earn his fee and win your case.

If you don’t have a lawyer, know what you must do to force the judge do what’s right and prevent the lawyer on the other side from cheating.

It’s that simple.

My affordable, popular, official Jurisdictionary 24-hour step-by-step lawsuit course will show you how to prepare orders, write powerful pleadings, draft and argue motions, object in court, get admissible evidence into the record, prevent the other side from getting lies into the record, do legal research, compose your legal arguments, and much, much more.

Read the testimonials!   ⇒

You’ll learn how to avoid filing an answer by moving the court to dismiss or strike the complaint or require a confusing or poorly-worded complaint to be re-written.

You’ll learn how to use effective discovery tools to force the other side to produce facts that may lead to admissible evidence.

You’ll discover how to move the court and demand that the judge enforce your legal rights.

In short, you’ll learn how to save money, maximize your winning power, and resolve conflicts peacefully and profitably … according to the rules!


Once you master the simple concepts I teach, you’ll be more powerful than most lawyers I met in 25 years as a licensed lawyer in state and federal courts as a licensed bar attorney!

Click HERE to learn more!

Of course you cannot learn all you need to know about what it takes to win by waiting for my Tips & Tactics each week. You need to learn the case-winning tactics in my affordable Jurisdictionary course that will show you what it takes to win, step-by-step in just 24-hours.

Whether plaintiff or defendant, you cannot hope to win if you don’t know what my course teaches.

These tips should convince you to order my complete course … whether you’re a plaintiff or defendant.

If you don’t know what opportunities you have in court, you don’t have much of a chance of winning!

Let me urge you to order my course today (if you don’t already have it) so you won’t make the common mistake of assuming you already know everything you need to win!

Remember: Winners are people who know how the game is played to win — whether plaintiff or defendant.

– – – – – – –

The essential tools and elements are explained in the video you can watch right now by clicking the judge.

Click the Judge to learn more.

You won’t believe me, but most lawyers (and nearly all law school professors) don’t have a clue what it takes to win. Many law schools don’t teach “causes of action” or the elements necessary to prevail. It’s true!

Many law schools don’t teach how to use your five (5) discovery tools or why you must be courageous and fight the judge and demand your right to get evidence in the record using your discovery tools.

Many lawyers are afraid to upset judges, so they let things slide. They don’t object. They don’t “instruct” the judge on the law. They just lay back, take their hourly fee, and let their clients lose … and those who pay lawyers yet don’t know what Jurisdictionary teaches about winning are led to the slaughter by their own lawyer.

Sad, but true!

I know what it takes to win. I did this 25 years!

My Jurisdictionary will show you how in just 24-hours, step-by-step!

The Jurisdictionary Method wins lawsuits!

Dr. Frederick David Graves, JD



How to Dodge a Lawsuit

30 Jul

Win with Jurisdictionary!



There are several ways to dodge a lawsuit.

Whether you’re a plaintiff or defendant, you must know what smart defendants do to dodge lawsuits.

The complete details are in my affordable,official, 24-hour step-by-step Jurisdictionary course that people tells us an average 8th can understand (if you can get an 8th grader to sit still that long!).

If a defendant is served with a complaint, he may dodge the lawsuit by filing motions to avoid filing an Answer!

This is called the “flurry of motions”.

Once a defendant files an Answer, he’s locked in and misses this chance to dodge the lawsuit altogether.

Don’t file an Answer if you can dodge the lawsuit with a “flurry of motions”.

Inexperienced lawyers and pro se people (who don’t yet have my Jurisdictionary course) make the avoidable mistake of filing an Answer to the plaintiff’s Complaint … instead of using the flurry of motions as my course explains step-by-step with sample forms!Learn from Jurisdictionary step-by-step

  • Motion to Dismiss
  • Motion to Strike
  • Motion for More Definite Statement

Each of these motions postpones the necessity of filing an Answer to the plaintiff’s Complaint … and gains you valuable time and evidence-gathering opportunities!

In some cases it puts an end to the case. Period!

Motion to Dismiss: There are several grounds for filing this motion. Here are a few. The rest are in my course.

  • Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction
  • Improper Service of Process
  • Improper Venue
  • Failure to State a Cause of Action

Each is fully explained in my course.

Motion to Strike: The following are a few of the many grounds for filing this motion:

  • The Complaint Contains False Allegations
  • The Complaint Contains Scandalous Allegations
  • The Complaint Contains Impertinent Allegations

This is power YOU can use!.

Motion for More Definite Statement: This motion should be filed when a Complaint is so poorly-written that a reasonable person would have difficulty understanding what it says, i.e., what the plaintiff is complaining about.

Sample forms for all of these are in the complete official course.

If you are sued, do NOT file an Answer until you use ALL these motions that fit the circumstances!

Failure to use the Flurry of Motions weakens your case and, of course, misses a valuable opportunity to dodge the case altogether.

These tips should convince you to order my complete course … whether you’re a plaintiff or defendant.

If you don’t know your legal options, you don’t a chance of winning!

Winners know how the game is played to win — including how to file and respond to the Flurry of Motions.

I know what it takes to win. I’ve been doing professionally since 1986!


Legal Forms for the Price of a Song on iTunes?*

16 Jan

Legal forms, without the legal advice or assistance of a lawyer, continue to decline in value. As a pure digital product, a legal form follows the price curve of other digital goods eventually approaching zero.  Several new start-ups in the legal industry will accelerate this trend.

Docracy is a new legal document start-up, founded by Matt Hall and John Watkinson, that grew out of a TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon in New York City. The idea is to provide a free depository of legal documents that meets the needs of small business and start-ups which are crowd sourced by individuals who register for the site. The concept is to provide an open source site for legal documents in the same way that GitHub is an open source site for code. The company is venture funded First Round Capital, Vaizra Seed Fund, Quotidian Ventures and Rick Webb by a group of investors who see opportunity in disrupting the legal profession. The documents are largely flat forms (MS Word or Adobe .PDF File format), with quality control provided by the "community." It’s not clear yet what the business model for this site will be. Online signing of legal documents is coming.

A second legal document start-up has emerged out of the New York City start-up web scene called Paperlex  .  Paperlex is also targeting the small business market. This site will contain standardized legal documents that can be modified within the web browser. A user will be able to store all of their documents online in their own private and secure web space, will be able to collaborate with third parties, and will have the capacity to execute/sign documents online.

Rather than crowd sourcing the legal form content, Paperlex will provide their own libraries of standard forms. Alison Anthoine, Esq., the CEO and Founder, hopes to provide an accessible legal document portal that small business can easily use with their customers and other parties at a cost that is much less that the cost of a custom document crafted by an attorney. The business model for Paperlex is a Saas subscription service provided for a low monthly fee.

DocStoc is another document repository that includes not only collections of legal documents, but collections of documents in other categories as well, such as human resource, travel, and personal finance documents. Documents are for free or can be purchased. The site is also built on crowd sourcing principles. Users can contribute documents and sell them through the site, with DocStoc taking a cut. Most documents are not automated and are provided in either MS Word or Adobe .PDF file format. However, a new feature called "custom documents" enables the user to answer an online questionnaire which generates a more customized document. The user can view the assembled document before making a decision to purchase a monthly subscription.Monthly subscriptions range from $9.95 a month to $39.95. The site claims to have 20,000,000 users.

Docstoc, Inc., was founded by Jason Nazar (bio) and Alon Shwartz (bio). The company was selected in September of 2007 to debut its product at the prestigious TechCrunch40 Conference. The platform was subsequently launched to the public in October 2007.

Docstoc is a venture backed company (Rustic Canyon) and received funding from the co-founders/investors in MySpace, LowerMyBills,, PriceGrabber and Baidu. , founded by Jason and Geoff Anderman, brothers, and both attorneys, offers free contracts that can be assembled within the web browser. Legal documents can be easily shared with third parties, and you can build your  own Question and Answer templates. A nice feature enables a user the compare any two versions to see new and deleted text in the fee legal form. 

By A Legal Forms PLan frm, our  own consumer legal document portal, also offers legal document plans that are libraries of automated legal documents that when purchased in a bundle are less than the cost of a song on iTunes*.



In the nonprofit sector, LawHelp Interactive, a unit of,with funding from the Legal Services Corporation, [ See Technology Initiative Grants ] has been working with a legal aid agencies nationwide to help the automate legal forms and publish them to state-wide legal form web sites which are available to any one within the state. The program is not limited to low income people. Hundreds of thousands of free legal forms are now created annually in more than 34 states. LSC has invested millions of dollars in the development of interactive legal form sites over the past 9 years.

Courts have also jumped into the free legal forms distribution game in response to the hoards of pro-se filers looking for free legal help. See for example: Online Court Assistance Program in Utah and Maryland Family Law Forms .

These free legal form web sites raise some interesting questions about the future role of the attorney and the changing nature of law practice.  What role will the lawyer play in this changing environment?  What is the impact of these relatively new sources of free or low cost legal forms on law practice, particularly the practice of solo and small law firms? Our own research provides support for the fact that solos and small law firms will continue to loose market share to these new providers.

"Unbundling" legal services by providing legal advice and legal document review for legal forms that clients secure from another source, may be a way of expanding access to the legal system, but it is also disruptive of law firm business models,  just like iTunes* was disruptive of the bundled album approach of the music industry. Value is shifting from the lawyer to the consumer and non-lawyer providers of legal forms. I can hear the sucking sound as law firm business models collapse.

Some questions to think about:

  • What risk do consumers and small business assume when they use a legal form without the advice or review of an attorney? The answer depends on the type of form, its complexity and the complexity of the transaction. If a user represents themselves in their own relatively simple name change, and their name gets changed by the court successfully,  then one can assume that self-representation worked.
  • But what about a Shareholder’s Agreement, where terms have to be negotiated, and the standard document doesn’t include the particular language required by the parties to reflect their intent? Should the parties now draft their own language? Should the parties simply ignore the need to include special language that reflects their intent hoping that there will be no situation in the future that will create a conflict between the shareholders because of a failure to include the language?
  • Who should negotiate the terms of the Agreement? The lawyer or the principal? Who would do the better job? How much shuld be charged for a successful negotiation?
  • How should the lawyer price services, when the client comes to the lawyer with their own standardized form and asks the lawyer to review it?
  • Will the lawyer refuse to serve the client, unless the client uses the lawyer’s form or document?
  • How important is the insurance that a lawyer provides that the document or form is valid for the purpose intended, accurate, and reflects the intent of the parties?
  • Lets assume that the 85% of the legal form content in many categories of documents is identical. [ This is what Kingsley Martin from KIIAC has concluded and he should know ! ] But 15% consisted of critical variable language not susceptible to easy document automation. Should the attorney charge on a fixed price for the entire project as if she drafted the entire agreement, although she only worked on several paragraphs? If the agreement fails because the variable paragraphs are incorrect for the particular case, why shouldn’t the attorney charge as if she he worked on the entire agreement?

If you have thought about these questions, and have some ideas on the impact of free legal forms on the legal industry, please share them here.

Document Automation as  DisruptuveTechnology


*iTunes is a trademark of Apple, Inc.



Last LLB Legal App Post of 2011

30 Dec

Come to think of it, I don’t believe I post very often about apps, at least not in a positive light. But I kind of like this one. Its WolframAlpha’s Lawyers Professional Assistant App for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad….


December Law Practice Today Issue Focuses on eLawyering

14 Dec

Virtual Law PracticeThe latest edition of the ABA’s Law Practice Today webzine has good articles on elawyering and virtual practice and a really innovative piece by Marc Laurtisen titled,  Dancing in the Cloud, and an introduction to the elawyering concept by Stephanie Kimbro —  Getting Started With eLawyering).

I also wrote a short article on Document Assembly Over the Internet , which as readers of this Blog will know is an old theme for me.

For our latest analysis on what is working in the virtual law firm space, download our White Paper on Virtual Law Practice: Success Factors.




Round-Up of Law Practitioner Blogs

04 Dec

Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyer Blog Examines injury and medical malpractice cases, news, and related matters in Illinois. Published by Kroot Law, LLC New York Securities Lawyers Blog Discusses securities law cases, news and related matters such…


Lawyers and Firm C-Level Types Oftentimes are No Smarter Than the Ordinary Consumer: The Case of Mobile Phone Monitoring

01 Dec

Yesterday LLB’s Mark Giangrande reported on the hidden mobile phone montioring software provided by Carrier IQ that is installed in millions of mobile phones, including most modern Android, BlackBerry and Nokia phones. See Your Phone Is Spying On You But…