The statement “all the cool kids are doing it” is usually signals a fad. However, in the case of crowdsourcing, the idea is no longer a trend and quickly becoming a staple of the Internet. While most think of crowdsourcing as start-ups looking for capital, it is actually broader and, in the modern era, encompasses the established idea of asking for help or offering services with an online twist.
Wikipedia defines crowdsourcing as “the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.”
The keys in the definition for professional service firms are “services” and “ideas.” PricewaterhouseCoopers identified these methods in a whitepaper published in 2011. Similar to blogs and even websites, law firms may have been weary at first, but once the value was identified, crowdsourcing has become entrenched in the legal arena.
Case in point, AttorneyFee, Jurify, LegalZoom, RocketLawyer, BriefMine and MyRight have all launched within the last couple of years.
Adam Ziegler, the founder of Mootus, an online platform for legal argument and insight, said the more he learned about crowdsourcing, the more it made sense as a potential tool for lawyers.
However, it is not just services and research that have embraced crowdsourcing. A divorce law firm in North Carolina turned to a “crowd for marketing help and ended up with more effective pay-per-click ads and a new logo that reflects its practice focus.”
Legal marking professionals have even suggested that crowdsourcing can be used for publishing articles and optimizing websites and lawyer bios.
For further proof of crowdsourcing’s influence on the legal industry, consider that others may follow the example of an employee who raised money for an appeal through online donations. The White House even considered crowdsourcing the review of patents.
Needless to say, the population “cool kids doing it” is quickly expanding to lawyers.