by Amanda Grau
TIKD, an application that enables users to be paired with an attorney based on an uploaded traffic ticket they wish to contest, has been embroiled in antitrust and unauthorized practice of law (UPL) litigation since 2017. In January 2019, there was a major win for the app and Christopher Riley, the app’s developer: the referee, appointed by the Florida Supreme Court as the court’s finder of fact for the UPL lawsuit, released a report in favor of TIKD. The report now goes to the Florida Supreme Court for adoption or rejection.
The referee, Judge Pooler, stated that although it is undisputed that TIKD is not authorized to practice law in Florida, TIKD is not a law firm nor a lawyer referral service and its operations did not involve UPL. “No reasonable person could conclude, based on the evidence submitted to the Referee, that TIKD or Riley hold themselves out as providers of legal services,” said Judge Pooler. Despite the positive ruling, TIKD has decided to suspend consumer traffic ticket services, perhaps in an effort to avoid future litigation. This is a blow to consumers looking for affordable legal support when dealing with unjust traffic tickets.
by Ridhi Shetty
After the State of Washington took several years to study its justice gap with little concrete action to bridge this gap, the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) Board of Governors continues to drag out the process ordered by the Washington Supreme Court in January 2018 to bring limited license legal technicians (LLLTs), limited practice officers (LPOs), and public members onto the Board.
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.
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.
Outside Investment in Law Firms Will Do More than Incubators to Bridge the Justice Gap
Written by Tom Gordon
Ilene Seidman of Suffolk University Law School recently wrote a column about a paradox of supply and demand in the legal field: lots of people who can’t afford legal help and lots of recent law grads working as baristas. Her column highlights the benefits of law-school based incubator programs teaching law students about the business end of law so that they can use technology to be on the cutting end of practice upon graduation. Suffolk University’s program teaches “innovative approaches” to students them to start their own firms or join small firms serving average-income people by teaching new technologies, marketing skills, process management and business through cross-training.