Lawyer Referral Services

Lawyer Referral Services

Internet-based innovation in delivering legal services raisese questions about fee-splitting with nonlawyers, conflicts of interest, and attorney-client relations.

Online auction websites, matchmaking services, and do-it-yourself tools have revolutionized many industries. In a rapidly evolving society that often rewards risk-takers and mavericks, the time seems ripe to revolutionize the delivery of legal services to those who need them. But Internet-based innovation in this area also raises questions of legal ethics regarding fee splitting with nonlawyers, attorney-client relations, and conflicts of interest.
Take new businesses that are expressly designed to enable attorneys to vie for clients online. LawPivot allows attorneys to answer questions from prospective clients to prove their utility to the client for future paid business. Shpoonkle lets lawyers bid on fees for a particular matter using a reverse-auction system. Legal Playground is a similar site, and others are likely to mushroom. These potentially disruptive legal products are daring and radical, and they highlight the need for ambitious lawyers to know the ethics rules now more than ever.