The rise of the “Google Lawyer”

26 April 2016

Nowadays, finding legal advice is as easy as the click of a button. But beware of trusting the “Google Lawyer” when making a Will, says Trevor Worth of Portcullis Legals.

Whilst the talk in and around the subject of disruptive law models continues unabated and rightly so, the title of this post does not refer to IBM Watson, Artificial Intelligence or the entry from all sorts of global brands into the legal services arena.

As most of us are aware, technology is changing and challenging everything we know as consumers, and the law is no different.

My thoughts are more aligned to the rise of apparent expertise via the medium of the internet. Red Adair, the king of all fire fighting matters in the oil industry, famously remarked “If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur”.

This could not be more apt today with everyone googling to get the right guidance.

Multitude of solutions

Whether this is law, medical information or how to fix a leaky tap, all we do is type it in and a multitude of solutions appear from all manner of experts or well meaning amateurs.

How can they all be correct and how do we differentiate between those that are qualified to speak about it or not? More than ever, members of the public need to ensure that the advice they are seeking is provided by qualified and experienced professionals.

“My Google search said…”

In our business, we are often asked a question by a prospective client that they then challenge our response to as “my friend down the road” or “my Google search said otherwise”.

Whilst we embrace technology in our business and everyday lives, it is important not to confuse generic and sometimes downright inaccurate advice, with solid qualifications and experience.

I was overseeing a mentoring session at another business recently and heard the following phrase used, which might sound a little patronising but I most certainly understood where they were coming from… “Please don’t confuse my law degree with your Google search”. The customer involved did take it the right way as it was delivered with a smile.

Secure peace of mind

In an age of ever increasing accessibility of knowledge, it is important that we all remember to seek professional, qualified advice if only to secure peace of mind.

The biggest issue with wills and estate planning generally of course is that if a poor document has been prepared for you, the depth of the problem may not become clear until thirty years or so later. Then it is highly likely that you are not here, the firm that prepared your document may not be here and your executors and beneficiaries have the unenviable task of unravelling matters at a time of personal grief.

The internet is a wonderful tool in so many respects but caveat emptor! Let the buyer beware that qualified and experienced advice is provided by either a STEP qualified adviser or a member of the IPW, or a solicitor that specialises in wills and estate planning.

Find your local professional advisor via Remember A Charity’s network.

Trevor Worth MBA TEP, CEO and Founder at Portcullis Legals Ltd