The other day, I titled a post, Why I’ll Never Use LegalMatch. Today, I got this e-mail from Randy Wells at LegalMatch:
I read your commentary with interest. It is important to understand that we uphold our attorney relationships in the highest regard. Our “start up” days are over, and we are respected throughout the legal community. We never contact an attorney unless we have more clients coming to us for help, than we have attorneys in our system. This system has proven to be very sucessful for our members. We do not use “high pressure” sales people. In fact, close to half of our attorney allocation managers have their J.D. and many have been in practice.
Our process is simply to interview attorneys that have responded to our call to help clients. We don’t quote pricing until we have a very clear understanding of the geographical area of practice, the preference within the specialty, and the years of experience. Quoting a fee schedule prior to understanding the needs of the attorney, and the practice of law they are involved in, would be akin to going to see a Doctor and asking he/she for a procedural price before even having an examination.
We are approaching this process responsibly, and reasonably, for the people who have asked us for help. Some Attorneys don’t like to be interviewed and have their records scrutinized. The public trusts us, and we will not betray that trust. You can’t “buy” your way into LegalMatch. We reject many attorney applications due to past disciplinary problems, but even more, due to NOT having a client flow that can support the Attorney practice. It sounds like you haven’t reviewed the site thoroughly. Please go to www.legalmatch.com, and go into the Lawyer join section. Our company history, press releases, and testimonials should give a fairly clear picture.
My response: I wouldn’t have posted at all, had the call from Legal Match been something like: “I”m Randy Wells from LegalMatch and I think you might be interested in joining our referral service because we regularly have potential clients in your area who may need a lawyer like you.” However, to call me and not identify yourself as a salesperson, but instead masquerade as an attorney with a specific client in need of an attorney immediately is dishonest — especially if you require me to join your service to get the referral.
I can’t imagine having a client come into my office with an out-of-state problem (let’s say it relates to her divorce in Montana) and I tell her I’ll call a few Montana attorneys to see if they can help her. To each attorney, I leave a message on their voice mail saying, “I have a client in immediate need of your services in Montana, call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX.” When they call, I tell them they need to pay me before I’ll give them the client’s name — whether the client hires them or not. I could never imagine doing that, and I doubt that it would even be ethically permissable. That is my complaint. Your sales pitch immediately makes me want to not use your service. And if your sales pitch angers me enough to write a two posts about it, think about how much other business you must be losing from lawyers who feel the same way.