IT & the Lawyer

Legal websites in South Africa

In an article entitled The Law Online: The State of Legal Websites in South Africa, on the LAWSURE website, Andrew Marshall ponders this paradox and compares the websites of South African law firms to those of firms in England.

His analysis of the top London firms show that South African firms have a long way to go. For instance, the English firms offer the following services:

  • Regular updating of clients by e-mail or SMS.
  • Online training of their client's staff.
  • Constantly updated online reference guides.
  • Document automation.
  • Case rooms and Deal rooms - secure websites where all documents which concern commercial deals and litigation may be viewed and updated by concerned parties.
  • Case tracking and Account enquiries.
Unfortunately, an audit of 15 of South Africa's top law firms shows little progress towards exploiting this technology. Most firms have sites of the "brochure" variety - detailed information of the services they offer their staff and a few articles of interest.

With the exception of the tracking of conveyancing matters, few of the services listed above are offered, and on the whole the sites are not taken too seriously. In a theme that has been expounded upon by Richard Susskind and others, he notes that the underlying culture of clients is changing and the Internet will fast become the standard medium for offering legal services.

Full article on LAWSURE

Reader Comments:

Sharon Bain 19/06/2003:

As a secretary I feel some of the attorneys are more concerned about cost saving than upgrading the systems used and training of staff. The systems are not used to their full potential which would save the time and costs they are always on about.

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