In 2002, Richard Granat, a Maryland lawyer set out to demonstrate that legal services in family law matters could be delivered online to Maryland's residents through an interactive Web site. At that time he launched what became one of the first virtual law firms in the United States at http://www.mdfamilylawyer.com. This Web site enables a client to complete legal forms online which Granat then reviews and modifies if appropriate. The Web site focuses on offering fixed fee legal services in Maryland divorce and other family law matters. Granat also offers legal advice on line in divorce matters and a court coaching service to help a clients represent themselves in a Maryland court. Since launching the Web site hundreds of Maryland's residents have used the site to purchase legal forms bundled with legal advice for a fixed fee that they can use to represent themselves, saving thousands in legal fees.
In 2012, Granat launched http://www.divorcemediationresources.com, an online divorce mediation site that is designed to help couples resolve their conflicts online, come to agreement, and then proceed with a self-represented uncontested divorce - the least expensive way to get a divorce in Maryland.
In recognition of the innovations incorporated in MDFAMILYLAWYER, the American Bar Association's Law Practice Management awarded Richard Granat the James I. Keane Memorial Award in Excellence in eLawyering at the 2013 ABA TECHSHOW in Chicago.
Marc Lauritsen, Co-Chair of the eLawyering Task Force of the ABA's Law Practice Management Section,the group that grants the award said that:
" I was Honored to bestow the Jim Keane award for Excellence in eLawyering on Richard Granat yesterday at ABA TechShow. As said, he's a national treasure."
Granat has also won the Louis M. Brown Lifetime Achievement Award for Legal Access from the ABA's Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services (2010) and in 2009 he was named one of the first group of "Legal Rebels" by the American Bar Association Journal.
Based on his experience in operating MDFAMILYLAWYER, Granat launched DirectLaw, Inc., in 2009, a private company that licenses his law firm's virtual law firm technology to other solos and small law firms. Over 150 solos and small law firms now use the DirectLaw virtual law firm platform nationwide.