The Wall Street Journal reported on a move from Jacoby & Meyers to break into the “Do It Yourself” (DIY) marketplace. As we all know, the DIY industry is all around us.
This is an interesting move for Jacoby & Meyers, which bills itself as “America’s most familiar law firm.” The leading firm is about to become even more familiar to people across the country, as its venture into the DIY industry was made possible by a partnership with USLegal Forms, Inc. (which boasts the SEO-friendly domain name legalforms.com). The USLegal Forms, Inc. database currently offers access to 85,000 legal forms to make the drafting process easier and more efficient.
As Jacoby & Meyers enters the field as a competitor to LegalZoom.com, Inc., they seem to be positioning themselves as DIY combined with expert attorney services, if wanted. While LegalZoom.com currently houses one of the largest online legal forms databases, making it an easy-to-use platform for non-lawyers to bypass hefty attorney fees to draft wills, real estate leases and other common forms, it offers only secondary services for those who need legal opinions. LegalZoom.com’s attorney database is available for only a monthly fee, and though it connects users to company-vetted lawyers, it does not provide an in-house legal team to help walk people through the intricacies of the law. Jacoby & Meyers may attempt to fill this gap through its partnership with LegalForms.com.
In an era where the legal industry is constantly shifting toward a digital landscape, it is no wonder that a law firm would try to capitalize on such a big business. LegalZoom.com has shown there is a DIY marketplace. Another company created the industry years ago. Nolo Press began publishing DIY books back in 1971. The LegalZoom.com, and now Jacoby & Meyers iteration is no surprise. This is a true demonstration of innovation in legal services, an industry that is currently in the midst of a major overhaul.
As human beings, we learn to adapt to our surroundings. While there may be some people who assert that the legal field is in crisis, I prefer a more positive view of the future. We are learning to adapt to a changing landscape, and just as a large firm such as Jacoby & Meyers can grow into the digital age by entering the legal forms industry, every lawyer has the opportunity to adapt his or her practice to reap the benefits of technological innovation. In addition, the real opportunity is providing solutions that technology can never replace!
Sanford M. Fisch
CEO & Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555