by Tom Gordon
A set of proposed best practices for online document preparation software is scheduled to be voted on by the American Bar Association House of Delegates at the ABA Midyear Meeting on Monday.
Responsive Law has submitted comments to the ABA opposing the proposal. Many of the proposed practices would add unnecessary features—and costs—to an industry that is based on providing streamlined services when a lawyer is either unaffordable or just unnecessary.
Beyond our substantive objections, we find it troubling that the trade association for lawyers is trying to regulate (or even suggest regulations for) non-lawyer businesses that are not engaged in the practice of law. As we point out in our comments, it's as if the Alliance of American Automobile Manufacturers set forth best practices for bicycle manufacturers that included safety features that would exponentially raise the price of bicycles. Such a move would be seen, at best, as an misguided attempt to make bicycle riders safer that would backfire by denying most people access to bikes. More likely, it would be seen as a clumsy attempt by the auto industry to beat a competitor through regulation.
I'll be attending the ABA's meeting to try to convince members of the House of Delegates that this proposal is both misguided and inappropriate. Watch this space for further updates.
by Jim DiFrancesco
Responsive Law recently submitted comments to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Discipline Committee (ARDC) regarding its study of how to regulate client-lawyer matching services. Client-lawyer matching services allow consumers to find lawyers that match the expertise needed for their case quickly and online, across multiple firms. The commentary focused on how both lawyers and consumers benefit from these services, and how regulation can be implemented to protect the interests of consumers while also promoting innovation and growth.
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.