With the proliferation of unregulated online legal service providers and new partnerships between venture capital-backed companies and established, trusted brands, the time is now for our nationwide community of LRS programs to get together.
Getting the word out about LRS programs has been a challenge online as well-funded private companies compete hard for first page search engine placement. It’s all about visibility.
Yet the value proposition of a lawyer referral service model is extraordinary:
- Experienced, insured, qualified attorneys.
- Staff who secure the right referral to the appropriately-qualified attorney, local agency, or governmental resource that is needed.
- Ongoing oversight and response when referral recipients have a complaint, suggestion, or concern. We alone have live human beings to whom the public can talk.
Our less-than-extraordinary competitors aggressively court legal consumers to make their investors and shareholders happy. Directories bestow badges and honors upon lawyers, with only a pretense of qualification standards (and sometimes not even a pretense). Online do-it-yourself document assembly packages oversimplify complicated legal issues for individuals who don’t know about affordable, safer alternatives to self-representation. Subscription dues from services like RocketLawyer mislead consumers into thinking that all of their legal issues will be covered for one low, monthly fee.
Unfortunately, no consumer reads the fine print: directories don’t screen their lawyers, self-help solutions are loaded with disclaimers, subscription models cover only the most basic of legal services, and there is no meaningful answerability from any of these services when a consumer has a problem or complaint.
Finally, our long-awaited unified lawyer referral network, LRS Connect, is nearing completion. Incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the mission of LRS Connect is to increase the online visibility of local LRS programs—about 250 of us—in the U.S. and Canada.
In addition to heightened visibility, once the user is on the website, easy-to-use geographic navigation will make it easy for desktop and smartphone users to find your program’s dedicated page. With content contributions from about 20 bar associations, the website will contain a wealth of consumer-oriented legal information about the attorney/client relationship, as well as frequently asked questions about common legal issues.
Google advertising, YouTube, social media, and search engine optimization will be provided courtesy of Matejka Marketing to make our unified network as visible as possible within a budget of pooled, financial donations.
It is exclusive to non-profit LRSs and no third party advertising will be allowed on the website.
Please send your comments and ideas on what you think might help make LRS Connect the best that it can be to firstname.lastname@example.org. Together, we will get our message out to online consumers for the benefit of all programs.
Stay tuned to this space for launch updates, sometime this summer.