Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Monday, July 25, 2011

Lawyer Up. Get A Lawyer In 15 Minutes

You can get a Pizza in 15 minutes, so why can't you get a lawyer in 15 minutes. Well now you can. A June 16, 2011 NY Times article discusses how a company called "Lawyer Up" promises to find you a lawyer in 15 minutes. There is even an app for that. As the article states:

The service’s personal plan, aimed at young people, costs $4.95 a month. Those who do not have a subscription can pay a flat fee of $100 for the first call, which the company calls its “pay-in-a-pinch plan.” For all clients, an operator checks contact information and processes the lawyer’s initial fee of $250 on a credit card for the first hour of service.

Perhaps inevitably, there is an app for that, already available on Android phones and under development for the iPhone. It is basically a panic button, speed-dialing the service.

Lawyers do not pay to sign on to the roster, or for the client calls. Legal ethics rules frown on arrangements in which lawyers split fees with nonlawyers, and especially when lawyers pay people to round up clients — a practice known as using runners. A Connecticut lawyer who signed on, Patrick Tomasiewicz, said that when he got the call from the company, his main question was whether he would need to pay LawyerUp. The company satisfied him that its structure avoided runner issues.

Sorry, but I for one would not trust this service.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

Lawyer Employment, Lawyers, Legal News | Permalink


Would you not trust it because you suspect the quality of the supplied lawyer or another reason? Also, it is not clear if signing up for the service or making use of this service saves you the first hour lawyer fee. If it does not, what is the actual benefit? Could I not just as easily Google lawyer and my location to find the closest?

Posted by: justasking | Jul 27, 2011 10:45:53 AM

Does Mr. Rubinstein trust the legal cartel that makes counsel unaffordable to most Americans while criminalizing an ever greater variety of non-violent behaviors? This little project he mistrusts -- without providing even a hint as to why -- is peanuts compared to the massive ongoing robbery of consumers by government licensed lawyers and the criminal justice system they dominate. Virtually every injustice in American society -- from the war on drug users to eminent domain abuses -- can be traced to the legal profession.

One thing is certain, Mitchell H. Rubinstein, privileged cartel member, would never have to worry whether he could afford to call a lawyer. His connections and income are quite different than the sort of young people who might opt for Lawyer Up. Perhaps Mr. Rubenstein could publish his number and offer pro bono service to youths who find their way into the clutches of the legal system.

Posted by: Nicolas Martin | Jul 29, 2011 6:35:11 AM

I’m one of the Co-Founders of LawyerUp, so of course I have a point-of-view.

I’m not sure why Mr. Rubenstein wouldn’t trust this service, but as other commentators point out, the value of the service depends on the quality of the lawyers in our network. They are excellent.

On average, LawyerUp network attorneys have over 10 years experience. They have been ADAs, Public Defenders, and Police Officers, and many have received professional accolades. Our network is invitation-only and no lawyer pays to join, or to get a case. We interview and check the professional references of every lawyer on our network.

Quality lawyers join our network because it is practically impossible for the vast majority of people to hire a lawyer quickly in a legal emergency. We handle for our users many of the practical logistical problems. For example, if you are in custody, you won’t have access to the internet. Our patent-pending technology allows our users to immediately communicate important information to the dispatched attorney, even if the client and the lawyer are not given the opportunity to speak by phone.

To be clear, when a LawyerUp user hires a lawyer, the user pays the attorney for the initial representation. LawyerUp securely stores user payment information until needed and processes the payment to the responding lawyer on behalf of the user. LawyerUp does not get revenue from that fee and it will not be greater than $250.

Posted by: Chris Miles | Jul 29, 2011 2:28:31 PM

There's a cheap way to get access to lawyers: be a regular Volokh Conspiracy commenter.

Posted by: Alan K. Henderson | Jul 29, 2011 8:50:05 PM

If it does not, what is the actual benefit? Could I not just as easily Google lawyer and my location to find the closest....We interview and check the professional references of every lawyer on our network.

Posted by: android developers | Aug 4, 2011 11:00:31 PM

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