Unlike platforms such as Uber, eBay or Airbnb, online lawyer registry LawAdvisor has resolved not to rank lawyers by client satisfaction.
“We've actually decided – and this is on advice from a lot of lawyers – not to have a ratings system,” Lilian Dikmans told Lawyers Weekly.
“The nature of legal services is that even if the lawyer has actually obtained the best outcome possible for that client, that client may not be happy for other reasons. We didn't think that was fair to allow clients to rate [lawyers] in a TripAdvisor-style rating system.”
Ms Dikmans said clients are often personally dissatisfied with the legal system or their own situation in “emotionally charged” areas of law, such as disputes or family law.
“[Clients] may choose to take it out on the lawyer,” she said.
LawAdvisor markets itself as a way lawyers can connect with clients for free by building an online presence and engaging in Q&A forums.
After securing a client through the platform, lawyers can access integrated case-management software for a monthly fee ranging from $25-$150.
”In the case-management system there is real-time communication, document sharing, video conferencing, electronic signatures and also task matter management,“ said Ms Dikmans.
“Basically we have brought all of that together into one place.”
While there is no client feedback in the form of ratings on the site, LawAdvisor verifies users' practising certificates and can connect dissatisfied clients with formal complaint channels.
Lawyers are also given a ‘law score’ depending on how active they are on the website.
Ms Dikmans said LawAdvisor is targeted at lawyers who do “a lot of individual matters” such as family law, wills and estates, employment and property matters.
“When it comes to the larger firms, [they] are obviously not going to be using LawAdvisor to find those sorts of more sophisticated corporate clients,” she continued.
“However, we have found that the larger firms have been interested in using LawAdvisor to target the start-up market.”