Access to Outcomes/Solutions

Key Innovators

Eddie Hartman

Others Working on This

Charley Moore, Jess Birken, Joshua Browder, Shannon Salter, Greg Siskind, Mike Zouhri, Chris Trudel, and Simone Spence


While the legal profession is mostly concerned with access to lawyers and courts, it seems obvious that most people—who, as we’ve learned, rarely turn to courts and lawyers—just want to solve their legal problems. This means people need to be able to solve their legal problems with or without lawyers, even when they can’t avoid dealing with courts.

Lots of legal innovation lives in this space, especially expert systems and artificial intelligence, which both amount to a form of assisted self-help.

For as long as there has been a legal system (probably) there have been do-it-yourself legal forms. It seems like there has always been a section for DIY legal forms in office supply stores and on software shelves.

With the move to the cloud, DIY evolved into expert systems, most notably LegalZoom. As these services got more sophisticated, some even began adding AI technology. And while lawyers will always that these services are inferior to hiring a lawyer, many consumers seem perfectly happy to use them and are getting results they are satisfied with.

Corporations with the means often do their own version of DIY by bringing lawyers in-house and may even develop their own AI-power expert systems do enable them to do more with fewer lawyer-employees.

Other options for helping people get access to outcomes without involving lawyers (as much) include limited-scope representation. To help explain what this is, imagine that the traditional attorney-client representation is a big Mercedes limousine. As I used to my own clients when they hired me, “your problem is now my problem.” I’ll take you where you need to go, in other words. But lots of people are perfectly happy driving their own Honda Civic, so maybe legal representation doesn’t need to present only two options: pay for the limo or walk.

Published on January 17th, 2021. Last updated on May 18th, 2021, by Sam Glover.