May 3, 2011
Nolo Acquired by Internet Brands
On eLawyering Blog, Richard Granat reports that Nolo has been acquired by Internet Brands, an advertising driven Internet company. For some 40 years now, Nolo has been helping make the legal system accessible to all by way of its self-help books and advocating for reforms to:
- write laws, regulations, and court forms in plain English
- require courts to provide in-person help to people without lawyers
- simplify courtroom procedures to give people without lawyers a fair shake
- simplify probate, and eliminate it entirely for uncontested bequests to family members
- remove many simple uncontested matters from court entirely
- redesign public law libraries to make legal information accessible to all
- substantially raise small claims court dollar limits to create a true people’s court
- let lawyers coach the self-represented without taking over the whole case (lawyers call this “unbundling” legal services)
- promote mediation to settle disputes out of court
- abolish unauthorized practice of law statutes that threaten online access to do-it-yourself legal materials and tools, and
- let trained nonlawyers help consumers accomplish basic legal tasks such as uncontested divorces, adoptions, guardianships, and stepparent adoptions.
Quoting from Nolo's About Page (linked above), which adds:
Nolo still strives to give consumers information they can trust and put to use: the highest quality, most up-to-date legal information, access to statutes and court decisions, and detailed information about lawyers who can provide personalized expert help. Even after 40 years, no other organization does what we do.
About the acquisition, Granat writes:
The challenge for Internet Brands will be to figure out how to unlock the assets buried within Nolo's vast collection of self-help law books and turn these assets into web-based applications that can be distributed over the Internet. It remains to be seen whether the quality of Nolo's self-help legal content will deteriorate under the management of an advertising-driven company that measures results in page views and unique visitors.
I agree with Lorelle!
People forget that not everyone has access to the internet, let alone legal help if they live outside metropolitan areas, low population rural areas.
Posted by: Kathleen OConnor | May 6, 2011 10:42:16 AM
As an academic/public law librarian, this makes me very nervous. We are heavily used by the pro se community, and often rely on Nolo books to acquaint them with how the court system works, what they need to be doing, etc. Is an internet advertising company going to continue to publish the books? Or will they assume that dead-tree publishing is passe?
Posted by: Lorelle Anderson | May 3, 2011 7:49:12 AM