by Ridhi Shetty
Responsive Law has issued comments to the Virginia State Bar Standing Committee on Legal Ethics regarding proposed amendments to the bar’s rules on unauthorized practice of law (UPL). Responsive Law urged the Committee to amend the UPL rules to require a showing of consumer harm rather than making a blanket prohibition on services provided by non-lawyers. Doing so could create more affordable legal services for low- and moderate-income people and would also reduce the potential antitrust liability of the Virginia State Bar.
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.
Written by Tom Gordon
The New Jersey Supreme Court has declined to review a bar ethics opinion prohibiting lawyers from participating in fixed fee legal services platforms such as Avvo Advisor. The court’s inaction will most immediately impact consumers of legal services in New Jersey, but ultimately could expose members of the New Jersey bar ethics committees to antitrust liability.
Written by Carolyn Mobley
The World Justice Project is an organization focused on improving worldwide rule of law that publishes a yearly Rule of Law Index ranking legal systems across the globe. In the recently released 2017-2018 report, the United States ranked 94th of 113 countries in “accessibility and affordability” of its civil justice system. Additionally, the U.S. ranked lower than all other high income countries in this category. Furthermore, according to the rankings, the conflict-torn countries of Afghanistan, Colombia, and Sierra Leone have more affordable and accessible civil justice systems than the United States.
Written by Christine Kennedy
The resignation of Judge Richard A. Posner of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is the result of an acute revelation about the way self-represented litigants are treated in this country. Judge Posner, one of the country's most distinguished appellate judges, explains that he decided to resign his position after realizing how the legal system mistreats people who represent themselves in civil cases. Posner described this revelation as an awakening "from a slumber of 35 years."