Virtually Unclear: Will Legal Tech Companies Bridge Justice Gap or Fall into UPL Abyss?

By: Nicole I. Hyland and Tyler Maulsby

Legal technology companies offer online platforms that enable customers to create forms and legal documents by responding to a series of questions or prompts. These companies claim they are not law firms and are not providing legal advice or representation. Yet, because they offer services that are also provided by lawyers, they can find themselves at odds with laws governing the unauthorized practice of law (“UPL”). This article discusses how courts have applied traditional UPL restrictions to legal technology companies and how those restrictions may limit access to basic legal services.