The Rise of the “Google Lawyer”

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.

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. 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?

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.

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.

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