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The Supply and Demand of Legal Help on the Internet

Hagan, Margaret, The Supply and Demand of Legal Help on the Internet (October 17, 2022). Margaret D. Hagan “The Supply and Demand of Legal Help on the Internet,” Legal Tech and the Future of Civil Justice, edited by David Freeman Engstrom. Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming., Available at SSRN:

“Faith in technology as a way to narrow the civil justice gap has steadily grown alongside an expanding menu of websites offering legal guides, document assembly tools, and case management systems. Yet little is known about the supply and demand of legal help on the internet. This chapter mounts a first-of-its-kind effort to fill that gap by measuring website traffic across the mix of commercial, court-linked, and public interest websites that vie for eyeballs online. Commercial sites, it turns out, dominate over the more limited ecosystem of court-linked and public interest online resources, and yet commercial sites often engage in questionable practices, including the baiting of users with incomplete information and then charging for more. Search engine algorithms likely bolster that dominance. Policy implications abound for a new generation of A2J technologies focused on making people’s legal journeys less burdensome and more effective. What role should search engines play to promote access to quality legal information? Could they, or should they, privilege trustworthy sources? Might there be scope for public-private partnerships, or even a regulatory role, to ensure that online searches return trustworthy and actionable legal information?”

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