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Thursday
Mar312011

BIDDING ON THE INTERNET

BIDDING FOR LEGAL SERVICES

In a recent Wall Street Journal, there is an article relating to the start up of a new website where potential clients would post a legal matter on the internet and attorneys would then bid on it. The thought is that people could obtain legal services at a price they could afford.

This sounds like something one of the large insurance companies tried several years ago - they would post information on certain claims on the internet and then defense counsel would bid - the lowest bidder getsthe file. When my firm was approached, I emphatically declined. I under-stand that the practice was stopped before it really got underway.

While this sounds like a good idea from the consumer's point of view,there are a number of reasons why it is not.

1. How is the prospective client going to know anything about the qualifications of the attorney who bids?

2. Most an attorney-client relationships are based on a personal(face to face) relationship. Here neither party knows anything aboutthe other. Will the attorney follow through? Will the client pay?

3. What does the fact that an attorney will bid say about his competency?

I have always felt that permitting attorneys to advertise is demeaning tothe profession. Look at the medical profession. Do you see really competentphysicians touting their abilities in full page ads? Generally, I have found that the size of the ad is in direct inverse proportion to the abilitiesof the advertising attorney or firm. Small informational ads are fine -the entire back page of the telephone book?

Invitations to bid on legal services? Mark as "junk mail"!

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