Online legal platforms – the beginning of the 4.0 law practice?
Keywords:digital platforms, legaltech, professional associations, european competition law, liberal professions
The 4.0 revolution has reached the legal services industry. New online platforms are emerging to connect clients and lawyers, while also providing new and innovative legal services. Nonetheless, several questions arise regarding these new businesses: How do they fare under the Portuguese regulatory framework? Is there a need for legislative reform? And how are Bar Associations dealing with this new reality? In order to answer these questions, we analyze the characteristics of online legal platforms and their compliance with the statutes of the Portuguese Bar Association and National Law. Secondly, we examine the prohibition by the Portuguese Bar Association of online intermediation platforms, taking into consideration the ECJ’s case law related to professional orders and the EU’s competition law. Thirdly, we study the national legal framework of legal services in light of OECD’s Competition Assessment Review of Portugal. Lastly, we present the recent project by the Portuguese Competition Authority and note its similarities with the ECJ’s case law.