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Spring 2006 Attorney Newsletter
Welcome to the Spring 2006 issue of The Legal Chamber, LegalMatch's official Attorney Member newsletter. At LegalMatch, connecting the right attorney with the right client is our greatest concern. Included in this issue is an interesting and poignant study on how and what Americans feel about lawyers and the legal profession (there's both good news and bad news), more Internet information, an update on the one hundred thousand consumers we contacted, and some fun warning labels. We hope you enjoy this issue.

First, a bit if trivia. We have two questions this issue, both dealing with:

Supreme Court History
Q1) Who was the only man to both pick justices and to be one?
Q2) Who served as Chief Justice the longest?

(Read the newsletter and find the answer at the end.)

In this issue:
America is Ambivalent about its Lawyers

From a study conducted for the American Bar Association, some interesting results became clear. The following is a synopsis of the results, and we're sure some of these will surprise you. Are you ready for some good news and some bad news?

What you need to know: always hear The good news first.

The good news:
Most Americans believe lawyers to be knowledgeable about the law and willing to help clients navigate through difficult situations.

The bad news:
Adjectives used to describe attorneys by the same group include "greedy," "manipulative," and "corrupt."

The good news:
Across the US, the majority of consumers who have hired a lawyer are satisfied with their service.

The bad news:
Many respondents made claims of attorneys misrepresenting themselves, not being upfront about fees, charging too much, taking too long to resolve matters, and taking too long to return calls.

The good news:
Many respondents reported their attorneys "applying expertise and knowledge," "offering practical solutions," and, "working hard on their behalf."

The bad news:
A large amount of Americans believe that lawyers are unduly connected to politics, big business, and law enforcement. They believe they not only "play the system, but also shape it."

The good news:
Most Americans believe that the Law is a good and even respectable career.

The bad news:
Most Americans believe that attorneys do a poor job at policing themselves and Bar Associations are viewed as "clubs to protect lawyers."


Another Finding we Found Particularly Interesting

What you need to know: advertising is hard.

Most Americans believe that advertising on TV or in the Yellow Pages contributes to their negative perception of lawyers. Advertising geared toward the general public is thought to be, "Unprofessional, over-promising, overly dramatic, and targeted to vulnerable people."
But, don't despair, as most consumers are concerned with the tenor of the advertising and not advertising in general. May we suggest, LegalMatch?


LegalMatch Reaches Out to Consumers, a Whole Lot of Them

What you need to know: more than 100,000 former LegalMatch users were reminded of our service.

A consumer newsletter was recently sent out to more than 100,000 LegalMatch former users. Among the various interesting inclusions was an article entitled, "The top 15 reasons to hire a lawyer." Click here to view the newsletter.

This email newsletter had a double digit click-through rate, an indication of it outperforming our expectations. With thousands of former users now clicking through to our site, we expect to see a spike in presented cases. We hope you benefit by this.


The Internet and Daily Life

What you need to know: the Internet is registering an initial impact on everyday life in America.

Nearly two-thirds of the American population is now online. 88% of Americans who go online on a regular basis say the Internet "plays a role in their daily routines." And, of those, one-third say "it plays a major role." The activities they identified as most significant include looking for and finding "the wealth of information out there, at their fingertips."

Users turn to the Internet most when it offers advantages in speed, convenience, time, and other measures of efficiency. More than 50% of those who go online, search for addresses, zip codes, and phone numbers, including searching for professional services.

"The Internet and Daily Life," Pew Internet & American Life Project, Washington, D.C. August 11, 2004


Tired of Hearing about "Frivolous" Lawsuits?

What you need to know: There is no avalanche of frivolous suits

According to the Association of Trial Lawyers of America: Special interest groups have been decrying a "litigation explosion" since at least 1986 and often talk about lawsuits in the abstract or with anecdotes, some of which are actually false. But, a look at the facts reveals a different picture.
  • Recent analysis from the National Center for State Courts found that tort filings have declined by 5% since 1993.
  • According to the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of civil trials dropped by 47% between 1992 and 2001. The decrease was also reflected across specific case types. The numbers of automobile cases dropped 15%, premises liability 52.1%, medical malpractice 14.2% and product liability by 76%.
  • The Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics also shows that the trend in award size was down.
  • The median inflation-adjusted award in all tort cases dropped 56.3% between 1992 and 2001 to $28,000.
But still, lawyers have had their hands in a lot of "frivolous" things:

Here are some warning labels that could only have been included on the advice of counsel (warning: for amusement purposes only!)

On a blanket from Taiwan
Not to be used as protection from a tornado

Warning on fireplace log
Caution — Risk of Fire

A warning on a pair of shin guards manufactured for bicyclists
Shin pads cannot protect any part of the body they do not cover

Warning on an electric router made for carpenters
This product not intended for use as a dental drill

On a bottle of shampoo for dogs
Caution: The contents of this bottle should not be fed to fish

On Marks & Spencer bread pudding
Product will be hot after heating

On a string of Christmas lights
For indoor or outdoor use only

On Sainsbury's peanuts
Warning: Contains nuts

On an American Airlines packet of nuts
Instructions — open packet, eat nuts

On some frozen dinners
Serving suggestion: defrost

On a hotel provided shower cap
Fits one head

On Nytol Nighttime Sleep-Aid
Warning: May cause drowsiness

Warning on a cartridge for a laser printer
Do not eat toner

A wheel on a 13" wheelbarrow warns
Not for highway use

Reprinted from website.


We Asked, You Responded. We need some more input so we all benefit

In our last LegalMatch Member Attorney Survey, in January of this year, we asked "Which of the following additional products or features would be most helpful for you?"

43% of you indicated an interest in firm web design/development.

To that end, LegalMatch is seriously considering offering individual Web design and hosting to our Members Attorneys. So that we're best able to tailor this endeavor to your specific needs, we would appreciate your input on specific features, benefits and functionality that you would like in a custom Web site for your firm.


Trivia Answers

Who was the only man to both pick justices and to be one? William Howard Taft. He appointed 5 members to the court, but his greatest accomplishment was actually serving as the Chief Justice from 1921 until his death in 1930. He has said he doesn't recall his presidency, (he was lousy at politics) but was quite proud of his Court stewardship. He was picked by Warren Gamaliel Harding.

Who served as Chief Justice the longest? John Marshall (picked by John Adams) served longest as Chief Justice, 34 years. The late Chief Justice Rehnquist served 34 years but he was only Chief Justice for 19 years.

Look for more trivia and more LegalMatch news in the next issue of The Legal Chamber.

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