After Repeated Attacks by Bar, Avvo Ends Popular Fixed-Fee Legal Services Portal
by Tom Gordon
Consumers of legal services seeking a quick way to find lawyers while guarding against the prospect of runaway hourly billing will now have to look a little harder. Avvo has stopped offering its popular Avvo Legal Services. The service is no longer offered on its website, and the general counsel for Internet Brands, which recently acquired Avvo, has indicated that the service will be discontinued by the end of this month.
The decision shouldn’t come as a complete surprise to those who have followed Avvo’s recent battles with state bars attempting to prohibit their members from participating in services of this type. Responsive Law has warned these state bars that the anticompetitive nature of these bans could subject them to antitrust liability. In response to these concerns, the North Carolina State Bar had been considering a more nuanced set of regulations of attorney-client matching systems (ACMS) such as Avvo’s, rather than an outright ban. However, in the wake of the discontinuation of Avvo’s ACMS, that bar’s ethics committee decided to table its proposal.
The tide may be turning on ACMS regulation. Illinois recently joined North Carolina in seeking more nuanced regulation of ACMSs. That state’s Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission recently issued a study calling for solutions beyond an outright ban on lawyer participation in these services, as a way of addressing the access to justice gap.
Unfortunately, these developments have come too late for Avvo Legal Services. From a business perspective, it is understandable that Internet Brands didn’t want to continue this service given the regulatory obstacles it faced. However, consumers are now faced with a huge gap in the marketplace for easily accessible, fixed-price legal services. State bars will have to take a more accepting view of ACMSs, or they will not only face antitrust liability, but will also have abdicated their duty to protect access to justice.
Tom Gordon is Executive Director of Responsive Law
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7/7/2018 04:30:02 pm
When people realize that they need not measure an issue by an attorney's cost per hour to determine what their rights are, that attorneys can help on many issues from the trivial to the traumatic, a subscription model may make more sense.
4/7/2022 05:28:37 pm
Avvo has stopped offering its popular Avvo Legal Services. The service is no longer offered, Thank you for making this such an awesome post!
4/7/2022 05:52:34 pm
Thanks for your report on AVVO closing. I found nothing about this in a Google search and their website found me a trial defense attorney in my zip code just now. Where did you get your information?
4/7/2022 05:58:22 pm
Lawyer participation in these services, as a way of addressing the access to justice gap. Thank you for making this such an awesome post!
8/13/2022 03:29:47 pm
That state’s Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission recently issued a study calling for solutions beyond an outright ban on lawyer participation in these services, Thank you, amazing post!
8/13/2022 04:20:48 pm
However, consumers are now faced with a huge gap in the marketplace for easily accessible, fixed-price legal services. Thank you for the beautiful post!
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