Is the virtual lawyer upon us?
“Chris can prepare your business/website terms and conditions for £199. In 24 hours you can have a gleaming new set of Terms and Conditions custom written for you. I just need to know your business type and anything unusual about it. I have dealt with just about every business type in my time and usually that’s all I need to get me started.”
This is an offer that arrived in my email today from a company called People per Hour. They promote a tremendous array of low-cost service providers – many of which probably work extremely well (we found our outsourced book-keeper, a qualified accountant, via this source).
It seems tempting to think about contract preparation this way. Low cost, doubtless a rapid turn-round. Yes, Chris needs a briefing – I must tell him my business purpose and any critical policies, practices or constraints. But I have to do that with any lawyer, so what’s the difference?
Well, of course I do not know the scope of Chris’s expertise. For example, what familiarity does he have with industry regulations? Does he know anything about international trade or foreign jurisdictions? How smart is he when it comes to topics such as intellectual property? But I could discover his competence levels with a few simple questions – and if all I really want is contract drafting, a fee of less than $300 for the finished product sounds rather tempting.