helps consumers,
professionals get legal expertise

San Francisco
Brokers and agents who find themselves in need of legal counsel, but who don't have easy access to an attorney, may want to go to a national network of lawyers who collectively have a huge array of specialties.

Not just a referral service, when someone goes onto the Web site they are asked a set of questions and the system returns a handful of names of local attorneys with expertise in the areas of concern.

Visitors can examine each lawyer's track record, experience and fee structure. After that, it's up to the individual to choose who they want to contact. The service is free.

The company was founded in 1999 by a group of lawyers who felt that consumers too often had to rely on friends or acquaintances when they were in need of legal help.

LegalMatch Vice President Don Keane said it takes the average person about 15 to 20 minutes to go through the online system to present their case and determine what kind of legal help is needed.

Keane said more and more often questions about real estate are coming into the system. On the consumer side, issues tend to involve purchase and sales agreements that typically come out of FSBO transactions.

On the professional side, commission disputes between agents, and even between agents and brokers, also are on the rise.
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