This pattern is not an online interface, but a physical object in the world. What would a legal kiosk, present in a public place: a shopping center, a post office, a supermarket, look like?
This image is from a New York Times article that explains how person-operated kiosks have been popping up in the UK as regulation has loosened on how legal services can be provided.
Imagine an afternoon trip to a Wal-Mart: You pick up socks, a flat-screen television and a microwave meal. After checking out, you stop in the photo studio at the front of the store for a family portrait, and then shift one booth over to a lawyer, who drafts your will or real estate contract.
Instant Law UK provides some video-based kiosks for people to do legal tasks themselves.
Stephanie Kimbro wrote an article Online Legal Services in Shopping Center Kiosks « Virtual Law Practice describing how such kiosks are becoming tech & video-based.
Imagine shopping for your groceries and remembering that you needed to check in with your attorney regarding the status of your divorce case. You find a private legal services booth and step inside. You touch a few buttons on the computer tablet attached to the kiosk and a video of a receptionist who works for your law firm comes online to take your request. A few minutes later you chat with your attorney face to face via web conferencing and log off. Your attorney has informed you that she needs another item for the next hearing in your case. You add a note to your grocery list. When you get home, you will upload the document to your attorney online and schedule another video conference through your secure client portal – after putting the groceries away.
Such access to legal services is now available in the UK by a company called Instant Law UK. The LegalFutures blog announced last week that the company was placing video conferencing kiosks in shopping centers this month and by the end of 2012 it hopes to have 120 kiosks across the country. The video conferencing service is also available to clients via the Internet. Areas of law that the company provides include Family, Employment, Personal Injury, Immigration, Landlord & Tenant, Medical Negligence, Contract Disputes, Wills, and Probate.
Prospective clients speak with a solicitor for an average of 15-20 minutes. That solicitor provides consultation and then refers them to one of the firms in the company’s network. It is unclear from the site whether the clients and solicitor may continue to work online or if they must at some point meet in person. I wonder how secure the service is and if the conversations held in video conference are encrypted or at least recorded and placed into a digital file for the client and solicistor’s future reference in the case.