Admitted to the Illinois Bar

I apologize to my readers for the lack of posts.  Between the Bar, looking for employment, and planning a wedding, this site fell to the wayside.  However, I am back and prepared to get articles out on a more regular basis.  I’ll be rolling out a schedule for topics over the week, but thank you for your support and readership.  Here’s to a new beginning!

-Tim

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LEGAL TEMPLATES AND THE DANGERS FOR THE CONSUMER

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In an age of Amazon, Uber, and Scott Trade, the power of choice and affordability for the consumer has never been stronger.  Thus, it makes sense that such choice and affordability would be available in the legal world.  Businesses like Legal Zoom and Nolo provide template forms that allow the average consumer to make contracts, write wills, establish trusts, and do other transactional work.  It addresses a pressing need in the market: affordable, simple legal work.  And it comes as no surprise that transactional attorneys and estate litigators love the advent.  The simple answer is that a legal need cannot be satisfy by a template.  They can be a great starting point, but too often consumers assume that the template covers all of the bases.  The reality is that the template becomes a time bomb that will explode as soon as their is trouble.  My Wills & Trust professor said that when you are planning an estate, you will need a lawyer; the only question is how much you are going to end up paying him.  A lawyer can draw up an effective estate plan for a couple of thousand dollars.  While it may seem like a lot, a dispute in court over the distribution of an estate will cost much more.

What legal templates cannot provide are strategy, analysis, and flexibility.  Though you can argue that law school has a lot of useless aspects, the fact remains that practicing law takes an education and an understanding of more than just rules.  A lawyer’s end product may end up being just a 10 page document, but the service the consumer paid for includes an analysis of the consumer’s needs and a flexibility to maximize potential and minimize risk.  In addition, a lawyer provides legal cover when things go bad.  A lawyer has certain duties and obligations to his client and to the quality of his work.  Using legal templates do not provide that coverage.

So why do legal templates succeed if they are not the best quality?  Simple: they address an obvious need.  The majority of people, small businesses, and start-ups cannot afford a lawyer on retainer of hourly.  Without a better alternative, people will turn to templates over and over again.  It can be worth the risk fill out a template rather than pay the exorbitant fees that some firms charge.  So until the prices come down for transactional work, expect legal templates and services like Legal Zoom to continue working.  Just don’t expect the output to be high quality.

(Also posted at blog.lawstud.io)

Guest Blogging on LawStud.io

Hey everyone,

I will be doing some guest blogging at LawStud.io’s blog.  LawStud.io (pronounced Law Studio) is a fantastic new start-up that connect small businesses and start-ups with attorneys on an open market.  Go check out their blog and website.  I’ll be cross-posting between the two so check them out.

The Need for Better Infrastructure

Comcast Merger

 

What is corporate doublethink?

Corporate doublethink is the ability of corporations to hold two competing markets and business plans at the same time in public view.  The most obvious instance of this is the existence of cable companies that also provide internet services.  Cable companies like Comcast have been able to hold two separate, competing views in the public’s eye while in private working towards only one.  They have the ability to provide cable subscription services while also providing internet services.  For years, these services have coexisted with few overlapping interests.  Today, though, with the rise of Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, and countless streaming websites, Comcast and other cable companies are finding themselves promoting opposite interests.  More and more people today in younger generations are forsaking the costs of cable TV for the costs of internet.  With less advertisements and more control over what to watch, younger adults are turning away from traditional cable packages.  As sporting events are streamed online, the cable companies are finding that their internet services are cutting into the bottom line of their cable services.

How does this affect my internet?

Well, the cable companies have chosen Television.  With data capping, a refusal to update infrastructure, and attempts to charge both ends of the internet (users and websites) for data, Comcast and are cable companies are fighting tooth and nail against change.

Can’t I just go elsewhere?

Luckily, this stagnation on the part of cable companies has pushed for innovation by other companies.  Competition by Google fiber and AT&T Fios are pushing data speeds faster than ever before.  Unfortunately, the expansion is slow and rife with roadblocks from politicians and the companies themselves.  Because most companies own the existing cable infrastructure, new internet companies must have the capital and incentive to take on building new networks.

Why hasn’t the government stepped in yet?

While the amount of lobbying and ignorance in the government should answer this, you may be surprised to learn that the government did try to improve internet across the country by giving $2 billion dollars to cable and internet companies.  Unfortunately, the money was never used for infrastructure and no audit has been done to actually determine what happened to it.  Tax dollars at work!

In the end, folks, the internet is the “New World” of the 21st century.  The capabilities of what can be done on it are still being explored.  Business, exchanges, communications, entertainment, and the myriad of other uses for the internet must be improved for a 21st century economy.  Here is one simple fact that I’ll leave you with.  In 2013, you could get 500 megabytes per second for over $300 per month through Verizon.  In Hong Kong, you can get 500 mbps for around $25 per month.  

Finals

I apologize for the lack of posts lately.  With finals this week, my time has been constrained.  We will be back running fully by next week.

 

Tim