Some lawyers are
turning to nontraditional ways of getting their names out there to
One venue is online, where, San Francisco-based LegalMatch,
helps lawyers market their services to potential clients through a
Web site, www.legalmatch.com. The service allows consumers who are
looking for a lawyer to type in the details of their case, and the
Web site sends the information to lawyers who work in the client's
area. The lawyers can then decide whether they want to take the case
Laurie Ziffrin, chief executive of LegalMatch, said the
company has been operating since 1999 and has participating lawyers
in all 50 states. Company leaders declined to say how many lawyers
it has in Nevada but said more than 84,000 Nevada residents have
visited the Web site since 2001 and more than 7,000 Nevada residents
have filed consumer cases with the Web site.
The lawyers pay to be listed on the Web site, but the service
is free to consumers, Ziffrin said. The company does a background
check on the participating lawyers, she added.
"It's free for them to come and do intelligent research,"
Ziffrin said. "If you take a look at the traditional vehicles people
use, the yellow pages and word of mouth, those are very static,
one-way flow of information (forms of advertising). You don't know
if that lawyer is licensed in that state, you don't know if the
attorney is taking new clients or is in good standing with the bar."
She said the privately held company earned between $10 and
$20 million in annual revenue and the company has increased its
attorney participation by 15 percent this past year.
Don Keane, vice president of marketing for LegalMatch, said
the Web site speeds the client intake process. He said the form
potential clients fill out is detailed enough so that lawyers can
quickly make a decision on whether to take a potential case.
"The lawyer is alerted through e-mails," Keane said. "One of
the significant advantages we afford the attorney is to decrease the
amount of time they spend finding clients. Attorneys are all about
He said once there is interaction between the lawyer and the
client, those interactions are protected by attorney-client
privilege. The Web site is private and no one looks at the
consumer's information except for participating lawyers who practice
nearest the client, he said.
David Clark, assistant bar counsel for the State Bar of
Nevada, said the group oversees attorney advertising. He said he has
heard about LegalMatch, but that the organization doesn't have any
complaints about the way it operates.
The service offers a small law firm or a solo practitioner an
affordable alternative to other forms of advertising, Keane said.
"Our focus is on the solo and small attorney business," he
said. "Most solo attorneys struggle to get their names out, because
they don't have all sorts of money. It's not uncommon for these
smaller attorneys to be forced to be generalists, taking any case
that comes through the door. What we do is allow the attorney to
focus their practice. They're partnering with us to funnel cases
that are specifically focused to their practice."
Keane said the service charges between $2,500 to $100,000 in
annual membership fees depending on the area of practice and
location of the lawyer's practice.
Gregory Cortese, a Las Vegas lawyer, said as a solo
practitioner client intake is a challenge that LegalMatch makes
easier. Since signing up with the service in August he has earned
back the investment he made with leads from potential clients each
month. He said he pays each month toward an annual membership fee.
"The budget for advertising is really not there," Cortese
said. "This provides a unique way of getting contact with clients
through the Internet, rather than just doing a yellow pages or a
billboard ad. It is somewhat costly. However, I have already made
Another way lawyers find clients is through word-of-mouth
advertising. Legalink is another vehicle member lawyers use to
obtain cases. Legalink is a Swiss nonprofit organization that acts
as a network for member attorneys who refer cases to each other
around the nation and the world. The members meet twice a year to
get to know each other, said Leon Mead of Mead & Pezzillo, a
member attorney in Legalink.
Mead & Pezzillo is the only Nevada firm that is a part of
the network. The network has more than 2,000 lawyers in 40 countries
and more than 80 office locations, according to its Web site. Member
attorneys pay a membership fee, but Mead said Legalink is different
from an advertising service.
He said the service offers lawyers some of the benefits of
having offices around the world, without actually having those
"It's a way to connect our clients to firms in other
locations," Mead said. "I know the person I'm referring them to.
There is some accountability back to me for that client. It's like
having an office in another city but you don't have the (overhead)."
In labor news:
The Nevada Staffing Association received two honors at
Staffing World 2005, the annual convention of the American Staffing
Association in October.
The group won a merit award for its programs and chapter
efforts in 2005 and it won a superior merit award for its
legislative efforts. The legislative awards were bestowed on
chapters that worked to educate legislators on the role temporary
firms have on the economy. The state associations were also
evaluated on the level of support they provide the staffing industry
through meetings, events, educational seminars and community
The Nevada staffing industry employs about 16,000 temporary
and contract workers each day.
Alana Roberts covers courts and labor relations for In
Business Las Vegas and its sister publication, the Las Vegas Sun.
She can be reached by email at email@example.com or at (702)