In an interesting new development for online legal services, Legal Futures reports on lawyer match-making service LawBid, which says that its users are mainly clients with family law issues. Kid Harwood, the founder, speculates that legal aid changes or general financial issues may make the site attractive, since it may be cheaper than following the traditional route of engaging a solicitor.
The site is funded through annual subscriptions by solicitors, paying £295 for a standard package of five cases per month and £495 for 10 cases per month. Solicitors can get a single case per month for free.
Another consideration is efficiency - Harwood said “Clients using Google can get hold of a list of four to five solicitors, but they have to call them to explain what service they’re after.”
In addition to this, contacting a legal professional may be intimidating for many people who have not previously engaged a solicitor, since there is often misunderstanding around fee structures - frequently the public fear that they will be charged for simply calling or emailing a solicitor.
Hopefully services such as this will remove some of the mystery and opaqueness surrounding the legal profession and encourage other firms to become more open and transparent about their fees, while at the same time fostering a culture of approachability.
Family law clients are the most likely to use an online lawyer-matching service which requires solicitors to bid for work, it has emerged. Kid Harwood, the solicitor founder of Manchester-based LawBid, said around 2,000 clients and 150 solicitors have used the website since its launch in August this year.