Rhode Island Bar Association Rules Favorably on The LegalMatch Client Acquisition System

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The Rhode Island State Bar Association recently ruled that the LegalMatch consumer/lawyer matching model was an acceptable method for attorneys to utilize when finding prospective clients.

The Rhode Island State Bar Association recently ruled that the LegalMatch consumer/lawyer matching model was an acceptable method for attorneys to utilize when finding prospective clients.

The opinion, No. 2005-01 request No. 885, and published in February 24, 2005, states “The Panel concludes that (a) the annual membership fee represents the reasonable costs of advertising permitted by rule 7.2(c); (b) the arrangement is not a referral service;(c) payment of the annual fee to LM.com (LegalMatch) is not impermissible fee-sharing with a non-lawyer; and (d) a participating lawyer’s reply to a consumer’s request for legal services is not a prohibited solicitation. The Panel concludes that the proposed arrangement with LM.com is permissible under the Rules of Professional Conduct.”

"LegalMatch’s client acquisition system again has been validated as an ethical, legal, and viable method to match consumers in need of legal representation with qualified, local attorneys," said LegalMatch CEO Randy Wells. "As the industry leader in new legal marketing strategies, our system provides a way for middle class Americans in need of legal services to find a lawyer and get the representation they deserve."

The Rhode Island opinion follows that of the North Carolina State Bar, 2004 Formal Ethics Opinion 1, published April 24, 2004, entitled “Participation in On-Line Legal Matching Service” that stated “Opinion rules that a lawyer may participate in an on-line service that is similar to both a lawyer referral service and a legal directory provided there is no fee sharing with the service and all communications about the lawyer and the service are truthful.”

About LegalMatch

Established in 1999, with a formal site-launch in 2000, LegalMatch is the nation’s premiere provider of online legal services. LegalMatch is the best place for consumers to find the right attorney and for attorneys to build and focus a practice. Corporate offices are located in San Francisco and Los Angeles. For more information regarding the company or this initiative, please contact Don Keane, Vice-President of Marketing at (415) 946-0855.

About the Rhode Island State Bar Association

The Rhode Island State Bar Association provides a wealth of information and services to both its members and the general public. Founded in 1898, as of September 2003, RIBA had membership of 5,400 in all categories, and is located at 115 Cedar St., Providence, RI 02903.

In fulfilling its stated purposes, the Bar's programs and activities are designed to serve the needs and interests of the membership, the public and the administration of justice.

Additionally, The Rhode Island Bar Association publishes the Rhode Island Bar Journal, a bi-monthly newsmagazine featuring articles and important information for our members. Articles on current legal issues and news about Association are in the Journal as well as posted in regular feature pages of the law weeklies and on their web site.

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Donald Keane
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