Not to be left behind in the 21 st century, perhaps lawyers should drop the idea of being a bricks-and-mortar profession and simply concentrate on selling legal wares online. In virtual supermarkets potential clients could then be given a (virtual) trolley and allowed to pick the legal products off the (virtual) shelf.

Of course, a pop-up disclaimer (one of many) in the store would warn the client (sorry, customer) of the duty to read the individual product information very carefully, particularly the limitations on use and liability: the fine print.  If the customer-client doesn’t have the time, the “auto search” function could be used and Hal, the qualified (virtual) lawyer-at-store™, will be of service for an appropriate fee.

Hal’s AI knows, for example, that even if there is a contract in place, Contract Law™ is not the sole producer of legal obligations and duties in the online Common Law Store™. There are numerous other legal sections in the store offering comparable (or perhaps more suitable) legal products. Hal has no problem in finding the right product in the right section to suit particular needs and requirements of each case.

For example, if Hal does not find anything of use in the Contract Law™ section because there is no contract formed (expressly or implicitly), Hal would simply go to the extensive Law of Torts™ department to a get a “duty of care™” product (e.g. Negligence™) or, the very popular false statement of fact (Misrepresentation™). Otherwise, Hal’s eye would point the customer-client to the databanks of the Law of Restitution (a relatively new section, previously stored in the Equity© department).

Then the customer-client could click to hear the (recorded) voice of Hal:

The Law of Restitution’s product range will help you deal with severe cases of unjust enrichment. Here, the tried and trusted all-purpose product, Quantum Meruit™ is guaranteed to rid you of any inconvenience or financial embarrassment. And remember: Law of Restitution™  products are unique! They go further than the competitors’ products! Torts and Contract Law just consider the damage. But the Law of Restitution goes that extra mile for you. Restitution goes after the person that has benefited unfairly at your expense. You always get what you deserve!

[End of sales pitch. The Blue Danube waltz by Strauss continues in the background]

Lawyers as sellers, search engines, purveyors of algorithms…or AI. That’s an option for the future…or, perhaps we are already there.