Andrew Hemsley, in his discussion on the future of legal services (29 April, page 55), is already out of date.
Consumers do not just have a choice between documents at WH Smith and expensive legal advice. At ContractStore we were supplying contracts online, including a range of construction contracts, some time before the phrase “Tesco Law” was coined by the Lord Chancellor. A review of the web directory in your magazine would have revealed our existence.
Mr Hemsley is perhaps in good company since Sir David Clementi, who produced the government’s report on legal services to which he refers, also ignores the internet. But it is the internet that will have the largest impact on the provision of legal services in the next 20 years. Easy access to forms of contract online, accompanied by explanatory notes, telephone back-up and services offering tailored templates, already exists and is destined to grow. A combination of these plus focused advice from specialist legal teams is the way forward – saving both time and money for the client.
This trend will continue. In the next 10 years, hard copies of cumbersome paper contracts will have given way to stripped down electronic documents and will be seen as just as out of date as the handwritten indentures of the 19th century.
Giles Dixon, director, The ContractStore