The ABA Wants to Know What You Think About Regulating Legal Tech


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Two years ago, the American Bar Association created the Commission on the Future of Legal Services to examine, among other things, how legal technology can transform delivery of and access to legal services. Late last month, the Commission released its Issues Paper Concerning Unregulated LSP Entities.

The paper defines “unregulated LSP entities” broadly and in a fashion that implicates much of current legal technology.

First, we know that these unregulated LSP entities offer a range of services, including automated legal document assembly for consumers, law firms, and corporate counsel; expert systems that address legal issues through a series of branching questions and answers; electronic discovery; legal process outsourcing; legal process insourcing and design; legal project management and process improvement; knowledge management; online dispute resolution; data analytics; and many others.

The Commission’s concern about LSP entities arises out of the differing ways that lawyers are regulated versus the lack of regulation of most LSP entities.

While the paper doesn’t go so far as to state that LSP entities should be regulated exactly as lawyers are, it does state that state courts have an interest in regulating the delivery of legal services and may wish to consider “whether the creation of a regulatory structure for currently unregulated LSP entities is necessary to protect the public.”

The Commission has requested comments relating to:

(1) data and evidence about currently unregulated LSP entities, including the types of entities that currently exist, the extent to which any public protection issues have emerged as a result of the operation of those LSPs, and the extent to which any particular types of LSP entities should be subject to new regulatory structures; and (2) information concerning any efforts to regulate these LSP entities. The Commission also seeks input on whether state judicial authorities should be encouraged to regulate currently unregulated LSP entities and, if so, what form those regulations should take.

Comments are due to the Commission by April 28. 2016.

Featured image: “Hand writing” from Shutterstock.


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  • KN8PZI

    It is not possible to regulate legal technology, particularly because it can easily move offshore. The best thing is to establish a system that supports dispassionate consumer reviews of the quality of various LSP services as well as lawyers to help prospective consumers shop. Lawyers who deliver added value to consumers will continue to thrive. The rest will become victims of their own costly inefficiency.