Legal advice gets wired

A London lawyer is pioneering an interactive legal service on the Internet.

Michael Kaye, senior partner at Tottenham-based Kaye Tesler & Co, is supplying basic legal services to Internet users, ranging from advice on criminal matters to grants of probate.

And, because he is anticipating that so many other firms will want to follow his example, he is setting up a computer consultancy to create similar systems for other lawyers.

Kaye, who has designed computer programs for the legal profession, said buying legal services on the Internet should be as simple as shopping for consumer goods.

"There are many services which are provided by a lawyer which don't really require advice. For example, if you want to change your name all the lawyer needs to know is who you are, your address, and what you want to change your name to," he said.

"I've taken the view that it ought to be possible to actually sell legal services over the Internet in exactly the same way as a supermarket sells produce."

For a will, Kaye charges a client £40. The client follows a series of instructions on screen. The solicitor then draws up the will from the information that is automatically encrypted and e-mailed to them. The solicitor then e-mails or faxes the final document back.

The service ensures security by encrypting all the supplied data.

Kaye said he had not come across any other lawyer or firm offering a similar Internet service.

"I contacted the Law Society and they were flabbergasted because they'd never heard anything like it," he said.

Delia Venables, who specialises in exploiting the Internet for the legal profession, said the idea is innovative and possibly unique.

"He's the first person who's really doing this over the Internet," she said.