An awful lot of legal work is done by do-it-yourselfers. From entrepreneurs and hobby business persons who don’t employ attorneys at all to large corporations that decide to forgo lawyer input on routine matters, transactions and other matters are handled by the business person alone without the benefit of input from legal professionals. Like the tightrope walker braving the line without a net, the height of the wire determines how high the stakes are.
I understand the DIY impulse. I usually mow my own lawn and have worked on my own cars most of my adult life. Although some things require a trained professional, I feel comfortable handling a lot of jobs around the house. But I never considered popping open the hood without a Haynes manual or a Chilton’s. These manuals tell you step by step how to handle a repair or maintenance job, complete with pictures of master mechanics doing it right.
Nolo strikes me as just that sort of tool for DIY lawyering. Nolo has published books about legal topics that are written for a lay audience for quite some time, and they now have an online presence. Nolo.com has information about legal topics as well as forms and a find-a-lawyer function. While I can’t vouch for the quality of Nolo’s online (or offline) information and forms, I can say that I’ve read a few of their books through the years and have found them to be well-written and worthwhile.
I’m a lawyer so I couldn’t imagine recommending DIY lawyering, with or without tools. But business doesn’t take place in a perfect world, so a lot of people choose to do without the net. What do you think? Have you used Nolo’s products? What’s your impression?