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The dangerous rise of robo-lawyers

In almost any creative profession, timing is everything. When you have created a new work of art, are ready to release a new album or have a screenplay that you wish to sell to interested parties, you have to act fast. If someone else beats you to the marketplace, you may have spent a lot of time, money and energy on something that is yesterday’s next big thing.

Many artists, singers, songwriters and screenwriters work together when creating their work. They feel that combining their efforts helps promote an exchange of ideas that makes the end product stronger. At some point, you and your partner may need legal help. You might need to enter into a partnership agreement, or other legal document that discusses specific obligations required by the parties.

Because time is money, you may be tempted to go with the fastest and quickest route to getting something done. Recently, improvements in technology have led to an increase of “robolawyers” for some legal work. These robots use software and data analysis to create a document that it feels will meet your situation.

Basically, you tell the robot what you need, and you get a contract that fills in the blanks. You, your partner and other parties sign the agreement, and you are free to move on knowing that you are covered in the event something goes wrong, right? Not exactly.

One of the biggest disadvantages to robo-lawyers is that they are unable to discuss the unique matters that are present in your situation. For example, let’s say that you and your partner want to have detailed language about future ownership of the items created during the working relationship. You have certain ideas in mind, but do not know exactly how to express your concerns or what sort of options that are available to you.

The robot is not going to sit down with you and walk you through everything. It is concerned with speed and efficiency, and is not designed to think critically about your situation. If you need legal help, don’t resort to pre-filled out forms or to one-size-fits-all representation. You might find that the end result is nowhere near as comprehensive as your specific legal needs.

Talking to an experienced lawyer can help ensure that the documents you draft cover the important issues that must be addressed in your contract. You will be able to have the peace of mind in knowing that the agreement that you have in place is comprehensive and thorough, and offers you specific protection in the event that the other party fails to meet his or her obligations.

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