Disintermediating the Courts and the Legal Profession

Development of the internet uniquely has disintermediated many industries.  Book, newspaper, and music industry publishers and distributors have seen their roles and revenues decline as the internet creates more direct marketing and other relationships between content creators and content consumers.  This googlization of the economy continues to revolutionize many industries.  Perhaps the latest and most surprising target is litigation and the complexities and delays the legal profession and the courts have engrafted onto dispute resolution.  While the  popularity of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedures, such as arbitration and mediation, over the past decades suggests a pent up demand to avoid the transactional costs and delays attendant to court litigation, the internet has now carried ADR procedures to an ultimate conclusion — by-passing both the legal profession and the courts entirely by crowdsourcing the process of dispute resolution over the internet.

 

Truveli now offers online what it calls a fast, free, and convenient way get “Trial by Jury’ (i.e. by a set of online neutrals) to resolve disputes.  It advertises that it can offer services to resolve disputes over civil rights and discrimination claims, internet purchases, business disputes, disputes over good and services, real estate problems, family and inheritance issues and many others.  Recognizing the increasing intellectual property issues created by the internet, Truveli even suggests it can offer services in this area despite the exclusive jurisdiction within the United States of the federal courts over many such matters.  Should it become accepted and popular, Truveli clearly has the potential to do what it says — provide an inexpensive, expeditious, convenient and neutral way to arbitrate disputes.  The interesting question is whether internet crowdsourced dispute resolution sites like Truveli have the potential to do to the courts and the legal profession what the googlization of the economy has done to the book, newspaper, music, and other industries. Continue reading

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