LegalMatch doesn’t get it.

I have posted here, here, and here about LegalMatch.  This e-mail just came from Randy Wells, a LegalMatch executive whose prior e-mail I posted here.  Randy says:

In response:

In the early days of the dot.com existence, much was expected from the net.  It has taken years to change habits of the American public.  We now have literally thousands of clients coming to us each and every week in search of a competent attorney who is willing to take some time with a client prior to physically seeing them.  I am sorry if our practice of helping people find attorneys is somehow offensive or deceptive to you. 

We are the dominant space on the net, and our major focus is on helping people, not the attorneys.  We know if we truly provide service to the general public, then our attorneys will be happy.  Most other "models" on the net try to "sell the attorney" on some "future promise" of direct referral clients. 

Our focus is on helping clients and giving them a choice of professionals.  True, in the beginning stages, we had trouble getting enough traffic to support the model.  I’m proud to say, that no longer is an issue.  We are not a referral service by any means.  Our attorneys, and our client’s, names and contact information are kept confidential until the client chooses the attorney.  The client’s choice of representation is based on the attorneys response to the perceived problem, and the attorney profile page (which outlines background reference checks, and personal mission statement).  This allows a level of scrutiny that some lawyers are not comfortable with.  We know that legalmatch is not for every attorney.  We applaud the attorneys that have recognized that the internet is here to stay, and that helping potential clients by a methodology of getting background checks and dialogue, is a meaningful service for the public.

Randy Wells, Vice President
Membership

Randy, I applaud your company’s focus on "helping clients and giving them a choice of professionals," and I agree that the more a potential client knows about their lawyer, the better for all involved.  Oddly, neither of your e-mails has even touched upon my only complaint about your company — your sales tactics. 

You apologize to me by saying, "I am sorry if our practice of helping people find attorneys is somehow offensive or deceptive to you."  I don’t take issue with your business model at all — instead, I take issue with your sales model.  It is your practice of "helping" attorneys find Legalmatch that is offensive and deceptive to me.   If you want to sell me something, tell me so.  You would be surprised just how interested I may be in a company with "thousands of clients coming …  each and every week in search of a competent attorney who is willing to take some time with a client prior to physically seeing them." 

If you have a good product (and you seem to think that you do), don’t be afraid to openly sell it.  Evangalize it.  Make me excited about buying it.  Your sales pitch left such a bad taste in my mouth that I don’t know if I’ll ever use your product — no matter how good it is.   Also, your claim that you "are not a referral service by any means," and that your service is different from, "Most other "models" on the net [that] try to "sell the attorney" on some "future promise" of direct referral clients," doesn’t ring true when I look at these statements on your website:

The goal is to get you clients in your preferred specialty that you judge of high value, so that you work reasonable hours while maintaining or increasing your revenues.

If in your judgment we don’t provide you enough clients to more than pay for your membership within your membership term, we’ll extend it for free for up to 12 months until we do!

Therefore, we believe that we will have met our burden under this guarantee if you at least were engaged by enough clients via our service, by the end of your membership term, so that your expected revenues when and if collected, would more than cover the membership fee you paid.

2 Responses to LegalMatch doesn’t get it.
  1. Kevin O'Keefe
    April 13, 2004 | 11:03 pm

    As you know you are not the only lawyer who has been so turned off by the sales tactics of Legal Match that they feel compelled to tell other lawyers to stay away from Legal Match. That’s ashame as the underlying product appears to be a good one. But I agree with you that no matter how good the product is, leaving lawyers feeling they have been deceived when contacted by their sales people is going to get them no where and in may end up huring not only themselves but the consumers of legal services they say they are trying to help.

  2. David Giacalone
    April 14, 2004 | 4:15 pm

    I wonder if Randy Wells is Pres. Bush’s coach on how to answer press conference questions — “Don’t Listen, Don’t Tell, Don’t Really Apologize” seems to be the strategy.

    But, I digress. Lately, I’ve received envelopes in the mail with no return address on them. They turn out to be sales pitches from companies who got my name from bar membership lists. Like LegalMatch, these folks don’t seem to know that lawyers don’t like to be tricked into receiving a sales pitch.

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