A funny thing happened on the way to the forum. That’s the NJ Society of Certified Public Accountant’s online discussion forum. I was involved in an online discussion about the unauthorized practice of law and how that affected me. What I discovered instead was how rapidly the positions of the U.S. bar associations have changed, largely in response to increased public involvement in social media. The fact is that less than three years ago the legal profession was still attempting to keep do-it-yourself services at bay and had taken a series of actions to protect this domain. Now it is clear that the industry must embrace, and perhaps even heed the lead role of some segments to web-based platforms.
It is clear to me – although not yet documented as plainly in public media – that our courts will not be able to successfully prosecute a web-based firm for the infraction of impeding on the realm of it own state-authorized lawyers. While there is still some doubt remaining in the mind of sitting judges, the fact it that this world has fundamentally changed and most lawyers are already on-board with the new realities.
I expect we will be reading more about this in mainstream media over time. Meanwhile, I am likely to include some specific examples in my coverage of the employee benefits practice in upcoming articles. The new post http://novaktony.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/changing-opinions-on-unauthorized-practice-of-law/ is a working sample.