Lawyers Weekly USA Edition
August 18, 2003 issue
Useful Websites And Products For Small-Firm Lawyers
By Tony Wright
Shopping For Clients
Wouldn't it be nice if you could turn on your computer, review a list of potential clients, and cherry-pick your cases? A company called Legal Match claims the scenario just described is a reality for the lawyers who subscribe to its service.
Potential clients learn about the service through the web, where Legal Match has arrangements with various search engines, including MSN, Google and Yahoo. When legal consumers do a search on the web for legal services, Legal Match is listed as a search result.
The online client-lawyer matching service directs people looking for an attorney to go to the Legal Match website where they enter very detailed information about their legal issue.
Then Legal Match takes that information, researches its database of attorneys and sends the client profiles off to those attorneys whose geography and practice areas match the needs of the potential client.
The attorney looks through them, chooses the appealing cases, and contacts the client.
Clients cannot contact attorneys until the attorney makes the first move.
The value is derived from territory allocations set up by the service, which limit the number of attorneys in a specific practice area in any given geographic area.
According to the company's literature, most territories have anywhere from one to five attorneys, and new attorneys are added when a territory caseload exceeds attorney capacity.
There is a four-step attorney territory qualification process required for eligibility.
If you pass muster, you will gain access to cases in a specific geographic region and specialty practice area for one year, for an annual subscription cost of anywhere from $4,000 - $20,000 per year - the price determined by geographic area and specialty of law.
Dan Street, a Dallas personal injury attorney, has been a Legal Match client since April 2003.
He said he pulls in about one case per week from the service. "I think the service has a lot of utility, and I'm pleased so far to get one case per week, even if they end up being moderate cases."
Legal Match, in business since 2000, claims that it has 9,000 prescreened cases available now and gets 500 hits a day, from every practice area under the sun and from all over the country, and its website offers both client and lawyer testimonials.
And while company representatives said the number of attorneys they have signed up is confidential, they claim that the number is in the thousands.
A good first step for interested attorneys is to find out which geographic territories are accepting attorneys.
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