Firms like Avvo are using their advertising platform to provide opportunities for solo attorneys and younger level the playing field and to acquire customers. Avvo Legal Services seeks to interrupt the traditional model where a customer seeks an attorney out based on his or her standing based network, and the fee is set by the lawyer. Avvo provides is a family based green card for $2995 that entails filing and preparing the types that are requisite, but no representation at to respond to a request for Proof or an adjustment of status interview. 95 is paid by the customer to Avvo, but may choose the lawyer they would like to utilize.
That attorney has 24 hours to directly contact the consumer\/client, and do the work as they would any other client. Avvo releases the funds to the lawyer when the work is finished, and in a different transaction a 0 advertising fee is accounted by withdraws from the attorneys. Under this business model, which I’ve termed in a blog as the Uberization of immigration practice, the immigration lawyer is currently contracting as a seller to acquire company and customers through its advertising reach. Avvo views this new service as benefiting both lawyers and clients. The attorney will rely on Avvo to get work and also acquire paid easily, without keeping track of billable hours or worry about trust accounts.
The client is also benefitted as s\/he will get access to a legal service that is both convenient and fixed, and will also understand exactly what legal service is being purchased. Avvo Legal Service must be distinguished from the Avvo rating an attorney might receive, which is ethically permissible. The question is whether or not paying the advertising fee to Avvo is ethically impermissible After a lawyer receives a matter throughout the Avvo legal services platform. The NY State Bar issued Ethics Opinion 1132 holding that an attorney might not pay the current advertising commission to participate in Avvo Legal Services since the commission includes an improper payment for your recommendation in violation of NY Rule 7.2. Under 7.2, an attorney shall not compensate or give anything of value to an individual or organization for recommending or obtain employment by your client, or as your reward for having made your recommendation leading to employment by a client In question for the NYSBA Committee on Professional Ethics was whether the attorney is paying the fee to obtain advertising and marketing services from Avvo or if it was giving Avvo something of value to recommend the attorney to clients. The former scenario wouldn’t be a violation of Rule 7.2 whilst the latter will be. The NYSBA, in concluding that paying your advertising fee violated Rule 7.2, analyzed Avvos business model in great detail.