Attorney-client matching

Attorney-client matching

Attorney-Client Matching (ACM), which has sometimes been referred to as online legal matching, is a subset of legal advertising that allows participating attorneys to be matched with potential clients seeking legal representation. ACM websites allow users to submit their legal needs online by practice area and location. Law firms or lawyers that opt to use these services are then matched with clients by need and location.



In 1908, the American Bar Association ("ABA") established its first ethics code, known as the Canons of Professional Ethics, which condemned all advertisement and solicitation by lawyers. Due to the progression of the legal profession and the desire to update the Canons of Professional Ethics, the ABA created the Model Code of Professional Responsibility ("Model Code") in 1969. The Model Code was an effort by the ABA to create practical rules that went "beyond the pretty details of form and manners" and addressed "the chained relationship of the lawyer to his clients, to his professional brethren and to the public."[1]

In 1977, the United States Supreme Court, in Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, ruled that lawyer advertising is partially protected by the First Amendment.[2] The Supreme Court rejected the argument by the Arizona Bar that attorney advertising was "inherently misleading" and "tarnish the dignified public image of the profession." The Court found "the postulated connection between advertising and the erosion of true professionalism to be severely strained," and noted that "lack of legal advertising could be viewed as the profession's failure to 'reach out and serve the community.'"[3]

With the internet boom in the 1990s, many consumers turned to the web to search for goods and services.[4] Before the boom, in many instances consumers would rely upon the Yellow Pages and referral services to find an attorney.[5] Given that consumer habits changed and working within the regulations of the Bates v. Arizona State Bar outcome, lawyers and law firms also changed their habits of presenting their services to consumers online. Two key categories currently define online legal advertising: online legal directories and attorney-client matching services.

Online Legal Directories

Online legal directory services pool attorney information in one place for consumers to search for attorneys on their own. Online directories can be seen as internet versions of the Yellow Pages. State bar associations and websites like and Martindale-Hubbell's provide lawyer directories and rank attorneys according to their credentials and experience. The system allows clients to submit requests for legal work to a community of legal practitioners. The legal practitioners then review the requests, and may then submit bids to work with the clients who can then choose which practitioners they wish to hire, or hire none at all, and submit feedback about the work of the legal practitioners.

Attorney-Client Matching Services

Attorney-client matching provides lawyers with the opportunity to increase exposure and reach their audience online. Companies like San Francisco, CA-based LegalMatch, Sharktank[6] and LegalOpinion[7] (Sharktank and LegalOpinion are now defunct) were the first to provide the attorney-client matching as a service.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) responded to the Supreme Court of Alabama's June 26, 2002 invitation to comment on the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct entitled Information about Legal Services. In this response, the FTC "encourages competition in the licensed professions, including the legal profession, to the maximum extent compatible with other state and federal goals."[8] Additionally, on May 26, 2006, the FTC commented on the State Bar of Texas Professional Ethics Committee's consideration on whether or not it is ethical for a Texas attorney to participate in an online legal matching service. The FTC determined that "online legal matching services are a valuable option for Texans: they are likely to reduce the consumers' cost for finding legal representation and have the potential to increase completion among attorneys."[9]

Larger corporations, such as Thomson Reuters' powered by FindLaw and LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell's, allow users to search their directories for lawyers as well as obtain legal representation through form based attorney-client matching.

Subsequent companies to enter this field have been CasePost, LegalFish, JDFinder, and Total Attorneys.[10]

In 2003, the Utah State Bar partnered with LegalMatch as an additional resource available for Utah attorneys to receive screened cases of potential new clients and to help consumers find a pre-screened Utah lawyer.[11]

How Attorney-Client Matching Works

An increasing number of people are turning to the internet to search for legal services and are relying on phone books and offline media less and less. According to Reuters, over 9 million consumers will search online for legal services each month. Attorney-client matching services provide both clients and attorneys with information about each other before they actually speak, which intends to save time for both parties and them to make better decisions.

Attorney-client matching websites charge attorneys membership fees to participate in the service. Users of ACM websites complete confidential, form-based submissions for free, and the attorneys receive their information. Some services allow the attorneys to choose the cases while others allow the client to select the best attorney for their issue.[12]


"... it's a prostitution of the legal profession ... it leads to lawyers fighting to undercut each other."[13]

"One concern about such services relates to client confidentiality. Normally, when you hire a lawyer and tell him/her your story, the lawyer is bound by rules of ethics and the courts to keep that information absolutely confidential. But you lose your confidentiality if you share the information ..."[14]

See also


  1. ^ Olson, Emily, "Ethics of Attorney Advertising: The Effects of Different State Regulatory Regimes, The" Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, The (2005);col1
  2. ^ Bates v. State Bar of Ariz., 433 U.S. 350, 363-64 (1977).
  3. ^ Haywood, Amy, "Navigating a sea of uncertainty: How existing ethical guidelines pertain to the marketing of legal services over the Internet" The Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics (July 2001)
  4. ^ Hornsby, Will and Staud, Ron, "Technological Innovations and Their Ethical Implications" American Bar Association
  5. ^ American Bar Association, "Consumers' Guide to Legal Help Hiring a Lawyer" (April 2008)
  6. ^ Green, Rick and Palmer, Ann Therese, "The World Wide Web of E-Law" BusinessWeek (January 2001)
  7. ^ The Team, " Refocuses Company Direction" Internet News (February 2001)
  8. ^ Federal Trade Commission, "Response to Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct" (September 2002)
  9. ^ Federal Trade Commission, "Comments on a Request for Ethics Opinion Regarding Online Attorney Matching Programs" (May 2006)
  10. ^ Harlow, Henry, Law "Attorney-Client Matching" Law Firm Marketing Solutions (July 2006)
  11. ^ Utah State Bar and LegalMatch
  12. ^ Popper, Ted, "Online Lawyers: Starting to Click" BusinessWeek
  13. ^ Retrieved 29 October 2010
  14. ^ Retrieved 29 October 2010

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужна курсовая?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Law, Crime, and Law Enforcement — ▪ 2006 Introduction Trials of former heads of state, U.S. Supreme Court rulings on eminent domain and the death penalty, and high profile cases against former executives of large corporations were leading legal and criminal issues in 2005.… …   Universalium

  • Timothy Stoen — Timothy Oliver Stoen (born January 16, 1938), currently an assistant district attorney in Humboldt County, California,Sims, Hank, [ Tim Stoen s Story ] , North Coast Journal, September 25,… …   Wikipedia

  • Internet privacy — involves the right or mandate of personal privacy concerning the storing, repurposing, providing to third parties, and displaying of information pertaining to oneself via the Internet. Privacy can entail both Personally Identifying Information… …   Wikipedia

  • Advance-fee fraud — African sting An advance fee fraud is a confidence trick in which the target is persuaded to advance sums of money in the hope of realizing a significantly larger gain.[1] Among the variations on this type of scam are the Nigerian Letter (also… …   Wikipedia

  • LegalMatch — is a private U.S. corporation established in 1999 as a free, online legal matching service to help people find prescreened local lawyers to help attorneys get leads matching their legal specialty. LegalMatch has satellite sales offices in Los… …   Wikipedia

  • United States — a republic in the N Western Hemisphere comprising 48 conterminous states, the District of Columbia, and Alaska in North America, and Hawaii in the N Pacific. 267,954,767; conterminous United States, 3,022,387 sq. mi. (7,827,982 sq. km); with… …   Universalium

  • United States House of Representatives elections, 2006 - notable races — Information Summary of party changesElections to the United States House of Representatives for the 110th Congress were held on November 7, 2006. The House of Representatives has 435 seats. In the 109th Congress, Republicans held 230 seats,… …   Wikipedia

  • Economic Affairs — ▪ 2006 Introduction In 2005 rising U.S. deficits, tight monetary policies, and higher oil prices triggered by hurricane damage in the Gulf of Mexico were moderating influences on the world economy and on U.S. stock markets, but some other… …   Universalium

  • Mock trial — A Mock Trial is an act or imitation trial. It is similar to a moot court, but mock trials simulate lower court trials, while moot court simulates appellate court hearings. Attorneys preparing for a real trial might use a mock trial consisting of… …   Wikipedia

  • Pine Bluff, Arkansas — Pine Bluff redirects here. For the horse, see Pine Bluff (horse). Pine Bluff, Arkansas   City   …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”