The Technology of Centralized Legal Research Can Solve the Unaffordable Legal Services Problem
42 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2014
Date Written: August 2, 2014
The technology of centralized legal research (CLR) creates a support service that can provide legal opinion and related services far more cost-efficiently than can any law firm. CLR technology maximizes the re-use of all work-product by means of three kinds of specialization of: (1) research staff; (2) materials used; and, (3) database management. By its ninth year of development (1988), LAO LAW, the centralized legal research unit at Legal Aid Ontario (LAO), was producing 5,000 legal opinions per year for Ontario lawyers in private practice to service legal aid clients (the judicare model of providing legal services to poor people). Now in 2014, it has a successful history of 35 years of innovation, popularity, and saving LAO millions of dollars that would otherwise have been paid-out on lawyers accounts for legal research hours claimed. This article explains how this service could be made a national service, available to all lawyers for all of their clients at cost. Greater cost-savings would be obtained because “nothing is as effective at reducing costs as scaling-up,” i.e., “bigger is better.” This same technology can create several other support services, which together, would solve “the unaffordable legal services problem”: the majority of population cannot obtain legal services at reasonable cost.
Keywords: access to justice, centralized legal research, legal research, support services, the unaffordable legal services problem, Legal Aid, LAO LAW
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