One of the most useful methods of teaching yourself how to draft legal documents is to read a variety of samples. If you’re a virtual solo, you may not have had the previous experience of a traditional firm’s files to learn from. And let’s face the truth — your client has most likely gone online and searched through a variety of free online forms first to figure out 1) how hard it would be to do themselves, or 2) to compare the pricing of the many cheap, online legal forms for sale without attorney review. With a virtual law practice, you will be better equipped than most traditional attorneys to compete with these companies, but it’s always good to know what your clients are investigating as alternatives to your services.
I’m posting below a short list of sites that provide samples of legal documents. It’s always an option to purchase state-specific documents for use in your own virtual law practice. However, as we all know, not every client’s legal situation is going to be the same so learning to build on those drafting skills is key.
Once you have drafted a collection of legal forms and documents, you can keep them in your virtual law office for future editing and use with new clients who have similar legal matters. This helps to streamline the delivery of legal services online.
As another option to collecting samples, many state bar associations will have practice area specific or GP/Solo/Small Firm online forums to help you connect with mentors. Just ask on the listserv if anyone is willing to share a sample legal document and see what you can collect.
Listed below are several online resources that let you access and review sample legal documents. When I first opened my virtual law practice, I used some of these sites to find items, such as client intake forms, sample engagement letters and different small business contracts. The best samples are not the blank forms, but the many business legal documents that have been made public.
I’m absolutely not saying you should copy and paste any of these free legal documents to create your own, but it does help the drafting process if you have the chance to read a variety of different samples and get a feel for the language used with different legal circumstances.
JD Supra: Part marketing and networking opportunity, part repository of form documents. JD Supra hosts thousands of legal documents submitted by the lawyers who drafted them.
Legal OnRamp: This is a lawyer networking site where attorneys contribute content and participate in online forums and groups.
OneCLE: This is a great site for reviewing sample business contracts. Contracts that have been made public are posted and categorized by area of business law.
Findlaw’s Free Sample Legal Documents
Get Free Legal Forms site