Tuesday, July 19, 2011


The New York Times published an article last month about a company called LawyerUp.  The company promises an attorney will begin work within 15 minutes of your emergency call to the company's operator.

I have to say, I'm a little surprised that someone didn't think of this sooner.  Whether it's a good idea or not, I'm not sure, but it appears to be a money-maker, and that seems to trump quality of the idea in all cases.

Having said that, this seems rife with ethical problems.  As one example, the system works like this: you can either pay a monthly rate to have the one hour of service available as soon as you call, or you can "pay in a pinch," which is $100 for the dispatcher and the full $250 for one hour of legal services.  But that's all you get: one hour.

I admit, I'm not sure what the rules are in New York, but I'd be hesitant to take on a client, especially one who had just been arrested or needed assistance immediately, if I knew I was going to cut them off at 60 minutes.  Once you take someone on as a client, you owe them certain obligations, and sometimes those exist whether or not you're being paid; sometimes you can't just stop working, and it seems like that's what the business model is at LawyerUp.

And that's just the first one that comes to mind.  What about pesky little things like conflicts?  Do you have time to think about that if you're only doing an hour of work?

I'll be interested to hear how this turns out.

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