Wired Blogs reports that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling which found that Ziinet.com and 700law.com, two sites offering low-cost legal advice, were essentially practicing law without a license. Jayson Reynoso, one of the users of the newly-found-illegal service praised the service saying, “Now you no longer need to spend weeks studying bankruptcy laws.” Turns out you do, or at least your licensed counsel has to.
While the ruling may reflect the letter of the law, it is also a blow to those who need cheap legal advice the most, namely those on the verge of bankruptcy. This is yet another case where licensing requirements are not safeguarding consumers, but rather significantly harming them. If the service is as accurate as its former customers attest, it did the job perfectly, and for much less money.
Then again, if any group of underprivelaged workers need a little job protection, it’s lawyers.