Will Google be offering Google Law soon?

August 12, 2011 — Leave a comment

“We see a large market opportunity for legal solutions that are easily accessible and affordable to users.” -Wesley Chan, Google Ventures

It was announced today that Google Ventures along with Investor Growth Capital invested more than $18 million dollars into Rocket Lawyer, a company that provides customized legal documents that can be electronically signed and/or downloaded, and legal consultations by local and national lawyers by paid membership
Background
Rocket Lawyer was formed in 2008. Lexis Nexis invested $2.1 million in 2008 and Growth Capital invested $7 million in 2009 (that’s $30 million to date). The company has 56 employees according to the Better Business Bureau and they also have an A+ rating.  
Charley Moore (who just started a twitter account) is Rocket Lawyer’s founder.  His thoughts are “Rocket Lawyer gives consumers technology to do things themselves with no human interaction at all.  When they do need help, and they do, they can consult a lawyer.”
Former LinkedIn Chief Executive, Dan Nye, is the current president of Rocket Lawyer.  David Drummond (one of Google’s top players) is a director.  They have quite the team!
User Membership
Memberships for users can range from $20 for a single consultation to $200 to $300 per year for on call legal service.  Rocket Lawyer provides users with forms relating to different areas of law including Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Personal Finance, etc. Users complete a free “document interview”.  Upon finishing the questionnaire, users are taken to a screen where they can decide what type of membership is most practical.
Lawyer Memberships
Lawyers can become Rocket Lawyer Affiliates and according to their website, receive generous sales commissions, 30-day cookie duration, and other perks. Memberships are $89.95 per month (Liftoff Monthly membership) or $899.95 per year (Velocity Annual).  The monthly membership includes access to legal documents and alerts from clients looking for legal services.  The yearly membership offers a smart referrals program, direct contact to clients and unlimited access to documentation library.  Members also get an online profile at Rocket Lawyer.
The Numbers
According to Charley Moore, the company has 70,000 users per day and has doubled revenue for four years straight to more than $10 million this year.  Over 15 million people and companies have used Rocket Lawyer to date. Each month, consumers generate more than 20,000 wills and 40,000 business contacts. 
The Questions

  • How does a website create an attorney-client relationship asks the Law Librarian Blog
  • How can lawyers who usually charge an hourly rate higher than a yearly Rocket Lawyer user membership make a living by becoming a member? 
  • How are users protected from making mistakes when filling out forms? There is the option to have your document reviewed by a lawyer for a fee but what if they think they’ve done it correctly?  Is there a refund for the monthly membership?
  • What will a service like this do to lawyers who don’t become members? Will the general public start using these types of services?
  • Will large multinational corporations use a service such as this?
What do you think? I look forward to your thoughts and answers.  Will there be Google Law?

Samantha Collier

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Samantha Collier supports lawyers, law firms and legal industry consultants in their social media marketing efforts. Her blog, Social Media for Law Firms, won the 2011 Canadian Law Blog Awards in the Best Practice Management Category and she was recently recognized as part of "The 24: Canada's Top Legal Social Media Influencers" from The Counsel Network.