Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Uberization of Legal Services?

From the Wisconsin Lawyer (excerpts):

The legal services market has not been immune from “uberization.”1 In economic terms, uberize means “to modify a market or economic model by the introduction of a cheap and efficient alternative”2 or “to change the market for a service by introducing a different way of buying or using it, especially using mobile technology.”

Avvo, the world’s largest legal directory, launched Avvo Legal Services, sometimes called the Uber of legal services.5

Avvo Legal Services is “a range of fixed-fee, limited-scope legal services determined by Avvo and fulfilled by local attorneys.”6 The lawyer chooses which services he or she wants to offer on Avvo.  A client buys a service, and Avvo sends the lawyer the client’s information. The lawyer calls the client and completes the service. Avvo then sends the lawyer the full legal fee, and as a separate transaction, the lawyer pays Avvo a per-service marketing fee.7

In its letter inviting some Wisconsin lawyers to participate, Avvo provided the following examples of the services and the fees:

“1. Living trust document review / $199 client payment / $50 marketing fee; 2. Commercial lease agreement review / $495 client payment / $150 marketing fee; 3. Create a living trust (couple) / $1095 client payment / $300 marketing fee; 4. Setup commercial lease agreement / $1295 client payment / $225 marketing fee.”

According to Avvo’s website, Avvo Legal Services is available in the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.10

Since July 2016, however, three ethics opinions have concluded that lawyers who participate in such a program would violate ethics rules that prohibit fee sharing with nonlawyers and would risk violating several other rules.

You can read the full discussion here

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