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LegalMatch is a private U.S. corporation established in 1999 as a free, online legal matching service to help people find prescreened local lawyers, and to help attorneys get leads matching their legal specialty. LegalMatch operates its legal matching service in all 50 United States. LegalMatch is based in San Francisco, CA and has additional offices in Austin, TX, Las Vegas, NV, and Reno, NV.
LegalMatch assists people who need to find an attorney for their legal problems, including family law, criminal law, real estate, bankruptcy, personal injury, immigration, and intellectual property. LegalMatch charges attorneys membership fees to participate in the service and the lawyer search is free to users.
Clients answer questions online at the LegalMatch website to identify the type of service required, and relevant lawyers are notified. Later, the client is able to review responses from lawyers in order to decide which lawyer, if any, to contact.
The LegalMatch LegalCenter is a legal resource for consumers. It includes a law library, legal tips, legal forums, legal blogs, and a newsletter. All of these sections allow people to find out more information about their legal problems.
The focal point of the LegalCenter is the Law Library, which maintains over 8000 articles on a variety of legal topics. All articles are written specifically for the average person with a legal problem. In 2008, LegalMatch launched their Spanish case intake, allowing people to present their legal case in Spanish and receive responses from Spanish speaking lawyers.
FTC and State Bar Opinions On LegalMatch
There has been some controversy over whether LegalMatch is permitted to operate as an Online Attorney-Client Matching Service. To date, the State Bars of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas as well as the Rhode Island Supreme Court Ethics Advisory Panel and the Supreme Court of Ohio each have each announced favorable opinions on the use of LegalMatch within their jurisdictions.
In 2003, Utah replaced their traditional lawyer referral operation with LegalMatch’s Online Attorney-Client Matching for Utah citizens.
The FTC also favorably ruled for Online Legal Matching Services, which they found help consumers find legal representation, and have the potential to lower the costs of obtaining information about the price and quality of legal services.
In 2004, Dmitry Shubov, the founder and then CEO of LegalMatch, pleaded guilty to illegally accessing the voicemail system of a competitor, Casepost, and was subsequently fined $5000, sentenced to two years probation and disbarred. LegalMatch and CasePost then settled their fight and issued a joint press release to that effect. As he was indicted, Shubov resigned as CEO in May 2004.
- "LegalMatch Company Overview". Retrieved 2009-04-19.
- "LegalMatch LegalCenter". Retrieved 2009-04-19.
- "LegalMatch Law Library". Retrieved 2009-04-19.
- del Valle, Elena (2008-06-05). "Attorney referral website targets Spanish speakers". HispanicMPR.com. Retrieved 2011-07-18.
- "LegalMatch and Bar Associations". Retrieved 2011-07-18.
- "Legal Referral Service". Retrieved 2011-07-18.
- "Comments on a Request for An Ethics Opinion" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-07-18.
- "Industry Wrap-ups: Law". San Francisco Business Times. 2006-01-23.
- Fees charged by LegalMatch to member attorneys November 23, 2005
- Article on the Online Legal Matching Industry - "The Future of Client Acquisition Is Upon Us" October 6, 2006
- Smith, Pam (2006-04-27). "No Love Lost Between Internet's Legal Business Matchmakers". The Recorder. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
- "Q&A: LegalMatch Executives". Red Herring. 2006-07-26. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
- Dahl, Dick (2006-11-20). "Services try to connect lawyers and client". Journal Record. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
- Press release about Laurie Ziffrin replacing Randy Wells as CEO of LegalMatch June 29, 2005