San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) August 22, 2006
LegalMatch, the nation's premier online legal matching service, today announced that the State Bar of Texas approved of automated online legal matching services. The Professional Ethics Committee of the State Bar of Texas recently emitted a new opinion in support of allowing Texas lawyers to participate in for-profit Internet websites that help match attorneys with people seeking legal representation.
In opinion 573, released August 11, the Texas Ethics Committee, announced that it permits automated online legal matching services and that lawyers in Texas could ethically use this type of service. The opinion comes on the heels of comments submitted by the Federal Trade Commission, which earlier this year declared that legal matching services can potentially be very beneficial to consumers in need of legal help. Both the Texas Ethics Committee and the FTC responses were issued because of requests made by LegalMatch on behalf of the entire industry.
“In the same way that advertising has been shown to benefit consumers of professional legal services, online legal matching services are likely to make it less expensive for consumers to evaluate providers of legal services,” states the FTC in its opinion regarding online client-attorney matching services released in May 2006.
An earlier opinion by the Texas Ethics Committee, issued in October 2005, might have been read to preclude any for-profit Internet legal services from operating in Texas. The Texas Ethics Committee has now made clear that its earlier opinion only concerned legal matching services that could exercise discretion in deciding which potential clients to match with which lawyers.
"The new opinion by the State Bar of Texas further validates the genuine value of online legal matching services,” said Anna Ostrovsky, General Counsel of LegalMatch. “LegalMatch pioneered the model of ethically matching clients to attorneys online and remains the undisputed market leader, helping more consumers connect with attorneys nationwide."
The Texas Ethics Committee declared that a legal matching service - such as LegalMatch - that does not use discretion, but instead automates the process of matching potential clients to attorneys using geography and legal subject areas, is permitted. Removing individual discretion in matching potential clients with lawyers removes the ethical concerns that arise when non-lawyers "steer" or "run" cases to lawyers for profit. Instead of "steering" clients to lawyers, LegalMatch uses the Internet to help lawyers and clients find each other.
Established in 1999, with a formal site-launch in 2000, LegalMatch is the nation's premier provider of online legal matching services. LegalMatch is the best place for consumers to find the right lawyer and for lawyers to build and focus a practice. Corporate offices are located in San Francisco and Los Angeles. http://www.legalmatch.com
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