In my earlier blog LawHawk Takes Flight!, I touched on the free LawHawk legal directory as a particular area where LawHawk sees an opportunity to add value to the legal profession, but which could do with some further explanation. In particular:
- if LawHawk is really for lawyers, why would there even be a legal directory?
- do you have to be regularly using LawHawk to be included in the directory?
- can less experienced lawyers include profiles?
Why does LawHawk have a legal directory?
The reality is that the wider public are looking for cheaper and more easily available legal services, and are increasingly seeking it online. If LawHawk doesn’t provide that option, someone else will and perhaps with a proposition that does not envisage a role for lawyers at all.
The directory is based on a belief that even if members of the public do start to perform more of the legal work themselves (“unbundling” or “decomposing” it as Susskind would say), there will always be a role for those lawyers who have developed their skills and expertise so that they can offer something more than a member of the public can do with LawHawk themselves (including a review and confirmation that the customer has in fact prepared a document which meets their particular requirements).
Lawyers who are familiar with the LawHawk system should be able to navigate the interviews much more quickly and easily than members of the public, and can still retain the primary drafting role if they want – though maybe it would be better still to do the interview with the client as part of the initial matter engagement, which could be a great way to prove you are working efficiently while also scoping and pricing the job.
So helping the public find lawyers fits well with our objectives, but it isn’t that easy. There doesn’t seem to be any user friendly legal directory currently operating in New Zealand. With the advanced features in the LawHawk website, it is relatively easy to not only display lawyer’s profiles in a very elegant and easy to use way (try the search bar and filters on the left hand column to see what we mean), but also to align lawyers to particular categories of documents. In the future, it would be great to see this become a valuable source of referrals to lawyers, matching customers with an immediate legal need to those lawyers who are best placed to help them.
Do you have to be regularly using LawHawk to be included in the directory?
No. LawHawk is a new business, and the LawHawk document library and lawyer directory are both new initiatives. The document library - and the number of lawyers regularly using it - will grow over time, but right now it probably won’t have many of the documents you will use most regularly.
The directory is not tied to the document library though. If you would like a free option to profile yourself in a different way, to see if it works for you, fill in the directory form.
Can less experienced lawyers include profiles?
This is a decision for each firm, but from LawHawk’s perspective, yes! If you can have a LinkedIn profile, inclusion in the LawHawk directory shouldn’t be any different. It’s just another way that you can build awareness of your services and start to develop a practice – things which should be important to you and your firm - without needing to develop and maintain your own site.
If you are not a director or a partner, the form will also ask for details of a responsible director or partner, giving comfort to the public and the firm that there is an experienced lawyer available as back-up if required.
To be included in the free LawHawk lawyer directory, complete this form.