07/31/2012 05:07 EDT | Updated 09/30/2012 05:12 EDT

Is the Internet Making Lawyers Obsolete?

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Like other professionals, lawyers are impacted by the Internet because it facilitates access to all kinds of legal information which used to require a meeting with a lawyer.

Unfortunately, as with self-diagnosing an illness from information obtained online, mistakes are made. In order to remain relevant in the information age, lawyers, as well as members of other professions, have to accept the new reality and move from dispensers of information to effective communicators, interpreters and directors of information to serve the needs and objectives of his or her client.

Particularly in the urban centres where we have a highly educated population, public registration systems and databases coupled with websites dispensing general legal information, have resulted in clients turning to alternative sources of legal advice as they try to manage their legal affairs.

Good lawyers who understand the "why" and not just the "how to" in performing legal services and interpreting laws and precedents are more relevant than ever in this changing environment. Information is one thing; viewing it with a trained legal mind is another. A trained legal mind knows how society functions; what the rules are and where the power lies in facilitating and/or obstructing individual initiative.

The lawyer who wants to continue to be relevant in the lives of savy business people and consumers must take advantage of technology to reduce costs and move from caretaker of information to interpreter applying solid legal skills and experience. Experienced counsel can save time and money for clients who understand that a lawyer is not a dispenser of legal information from an isolated discipline, but is more like a rudder to assist in solid, ethical and legal decision-making.

This is what makes lawyers relevant.