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April 06, 2004

LegalMatch, Part II.

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.

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» Clue Train Manifesto in practice from tins ::: Rick Klau's weblog
There’s an interesting thread going on at the [non]billable hour right now, between Matt Homann, a lawyer, and the CEO of LegalMatch, a company that used fairly aggressive tactics in pitching their services to Matt. Read Matt’s original pos... [Read More]

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There’s an interesting thread going on at the [non]billable hour right now, between Matt Homann, a lawyer, and the CEO of LegalMatch, a company that used fairly aggressive tactics in pitching their services to Matt. Read Matt’s original pos... [Read More]

» Cluetrain Manifesto in practice from tins ::: Rick Klau's weblog
There’s an interesting thread going on at the [non]billable hour right now, between Matt Homann, a lawyer, and the CEO of LegalMatch, a company that used fairly aggressive tactics in pitching their services to Matt. Read Matt’s original pos... [Read More]

» Selling Innovative Marketing Services from eLawyer Blog
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» Selling Innovative Marketing Services from eLawyer Blog
Rick Klau points to some interesting back and forth over some problematic marketing tactics between Matt Homann of the [non]billable hour and the CEO of LegalMatch. Carolyn Elefant asks some interesting related questions. In true Cluetrain Manifesto fa... [Read More]

» Selling Innovative Marketing Services from eLawyer Blog
Rick Klau points to some interesting back and forth over some problematic marketing tactics between Matt Homann of the [non]billable hour and the CEO of LegalMatch. Carolyn Elefant asks some interesting related questions. In true Cluetrain Manifesto fa... [Read More]

Comments

ALISON -
as a former Legalmatch employee, i advise you to stay away! this company is sleezy and slimey. they take advantage of lawyers, as well as their own employees.

run, don't walk.

Hello all, I am simply researching the current state of this company as I am contemplating pursuing a job opportunity as a sales rep. Seem to be very divided camps regarding opinions on the product, techniques, ethics, effectiveness, etc. Now that months have passed since the original 4/04 thread, just curious to hear if opinions re: the company have improved? Advertising is expensive with no guarantee of ROI, so why wouldnt this type of service have a premium pricetag too? Is it possibly just a whole new approach that one would be proud to represent? Appreciate any feedback. Thank you,
Alison

"In fact, close to half of our attorney allocation managers have their J.D. and many have been in practice." !!

STATEMENTS LIKE THESE ILLUSTRATE THE LIES THE CEO OF THIS COMPANY ENGAGES IN....got to give him credit though, he knows what lawyers want to hear!!

To Marty or any other Attorney,

I work in the Membership Department at LegalMatch and the reason that I am here is because one of my best friends is a very happy LegalMatch member (Criminal attorney in Redwood City, CA), having some of his best cases come from LegalMatch clients. In fact, he came by the office Friday for lunch, and said that he had to leave by 2:30 because he had 3 appointments that afternoon, all LegalMatch leads.

I've since brought on some incredible attorneys since then, all of who have been great to work with.

Rather than discussing rumors and information that seems to be heresay, I suggest giving me a call to discuss. I'd be more than happy to take some time to go through our process, our successes, and discuss our exponential growth both in case load, but also in management style at the company. I'm sure there are some unhappy customers out there, but that is true in any business. As in any customer facing company, typically it's only the unhappy ones who yell the loudest.

I'm available most days at our headquarters in San Francisco at 415-946-0820.

Best,
Sam Adler
Senior Membership Manager
LegalMatch

WHY I WILL BE USING LEGALMATCH!

It appears that individuals out there are skeptical about the service, as I was too prior to observing with my own eyes how this Lagalmatch service drastically transform and benefited two of my fellow attorneys’ practices.

Additionally, I have also observed another attorney who wanted to acquire and join the service being turned down by the LegalMatch stuff since he did not meet their allocation criteria and other ethical standard criteria. It seems that Legalmatch truly ensures that high standards and professionalism will be delivered via their service.
It was actually after I heard of that attorney being turned down by the service, that I gained much respect for the Legalmatch service!

Yes, Legalmatch did contact me initially (actually long time ago) via phone attempting to explain me about their service, and Yes I was bothered a bit, annoyed and a bit resentful.
However, it is now that I am looking to contact them for their service and willing to make the initial investment to get those same results I’ve seen other attorneys getting via Legalmatch(vs. phone ads, referral services, community relation…)

We often tend to resist new concepts that come our way and just dismiss them for being new and unique, even if they are truly revolutionary and highly beneficial. Many industries around us are constantly evolving, and it seems to me that we should embrace and encourage useful, revolutionary concept such as the one Legalmatch provides us.

I would recommend other attorneys prior to being turned down by their phone calls and other sale techniques, to really look into the dept and substance of what they are trying to offer us. I was one of the critics before, who is now making the step to embrace the benefits of this service…
Myself and many other attorneys, speaking to lately, are all of the view that this revolutionary, LegalMatch service is a true benefit to our industry. Believed it worth mentioning as food for thought!

-Marty S.


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

I was early signup of LegalMatch based on their promising a money-back guarantee.
They came up with worthless cases.
At one point there was problem on my listing & I could contact nobody there -- repeated e-mails with no response. Then I lost my wallet & cards, had to cancel a card so the last few months weren't billed. They never contacted me to even clarify the billing.
Then when I wanted my money back they defended on the grounds I hadn't completed all payments!
They have been the subject of many discussions on Listserves. Though *they* talk of how good they are, I have yet to see an attorney report positive expeiences

I admire your restraint in response to Randy Wells' mostly non-responsive email message. Since his non sequiturs and flawed reasoning are too obvious to warrant comment, I'll merely say that I hope this retired lawyer doesn't get a similar call from the LM folks.

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