New England Estate Planning (“NEEP”), is, among other things, a state-specific automated drafting site for lawyers licensed in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, and is now open for attorney registration.

While the site, newenglandestateplanning.com, is not yet ready for attorney use, we are now accepting for registration and doing beta testing on the site. We hope to launch the site on January 1, 2021.

Registration is simple. Send us an email (info@newenglandestateplanning.com) and include your name, contact information, and bar number (please indicate which bar (ME, MA, or NH) you belong to).  We will confirm through your bar that you are an active member and, when the site is ready, we will issue you a password.  We may decide to hold off on issuing passwords until the launch date but will keep you updated by email.  Your identity will not be published on NEEP.

If you would like additional passwords for staff, please let us know their names, email addresses, and we will provide you with separate passwords for their use.  If a staff member leaves your firm, please let us know so that we can cancel their access.  Every attorney will be asked at the end of each year to confirm their firm’s active users.  Remember, only you can stop the unauthorized practice of law.

Most of the features of NEEP are free to attorneys and their staff.  A premium area will be carved out as a possible future place for the development of subscription-based forms.  Over time, paid subscriptions to the professional directory (i.e., business listings) should enable the site to be self-sufficient.

We want NEEP to succeed and if you want to help, here is what we ask: Encourage attorneys you know to register!  Forward the site link and this blog post.  The more lawyers that register and that eventually use NEEP, the greater the likelihood that NEEP can eventually attract enough subscribers to the directory to enable the site to be self-sufficient, to hire attorneys to draft new automated forms for collective use and to create more free tools.  In the process, a populated directory also creates a resource for lawyers of business that are vetted by attorneys.  Once the directory is populated with business, you can continue to help NEEP by using and rating the business listed in the directory just as you would on Google, Yelp, or similar sites. Lawyers can also pay for a subscription listing in the directory.

For as long as I can remember, lawyers have been the contestants in a never-ending beauty contest.  When I started practicing, that meant being listed in Martindale-Hubbell.  Their large handsome printed volumes were a standard set in many law offices.  Today, thanks to the web, we have AVVO, Martindale-Hubbell, SuperLawyers, Lawyers.com, LegalMatch, Findlaw, and the list goes on.  Most of them don’t ask you if you want to be listed.  You are just listed – it’s a right protected by the 1st Amendment. Most of them want you to pay them and not an insignificant amount either.   You might get some SEO juice out of the deal, but my bet is that these services are not making your phone ring off the hook day and night, particularly if you are just getting started.  Don’t like your rating or reviews?  Too bad. You have to live with it.  Here is some unsolicited advice, think defensively – ask for reviews early and often to avoid getting sucker-punched.  Moreover, do any of them help you practice day-to-day?  Do they make your practice more efficient?  Provide you with tools?  Anything of substance?  Anyone? Anyone?

However, if you turn AVVO, Martindale-Hubbell, SuperLawyers, and all the rest of them, on their heads and, in the process, got some assistant with working faster, more efficiently, and with no added cost, what do you get?  NEEP, that’s what and, it’s not cheap, it’s free (mostly).  Anyway, that’s what we are trying to build and it’s for you, the estate planning lawyer because we know that, someday you will need “that form” or “that resource” or that “professional referral” and when that day comes, we hope that you will find “that” on NEEP.

To learn more, please visit our About page and the blog Digitial HereinAfter, https://maineestateattorney.com, where Smilie Rogers has been bloging about NEEP and other legal matters.

Happy New Year!  Wishing All Lawyers a Fulfilling Practice and Balanced Life in 2020.