Bidding for legal services online is one step closer to hitting the mainstream after Legal Tender announced Thursday that it had signed a strategic deal with the Australia Corporate Lawyers Association (ACLA).
Established earlier this year by former lawyer Emily Peterson, the service allows firms to bid for legal work and then presents a full range of legal options for individuals and organisations seeking legal advice. It's a form of bidding that Peterson recently told Lawyers Weekly was significantly lacking in Australia, and one that she decided to pursue following mounting concerns regarding the billing rates of lawyers, and a disappointing experience her own parents faced in seeking legal advice.
Legal Tender now has 220 legal firms of varying sizes signed up in Sydney and Melbourne, and more than 100 cases activated. With all firms in Victoria and NSW having now been invited to join the service, Legal Tender claims it's unlikely that any less than five firms would bid for any given case.
The ACLA alliance means that Legal Tender can now draw on ACLA's thousands of in-house counsel members, who may very well take up the auctioning service in a bid to extend their briefs for required services to external lawyers. "Our service is very efficient and forces competition among both large and small firms to offer the best price for their service," said Peterson.
Peterson added that the service will mean that ACLA members will be able to easily compare costs and skills of firms tendering for work, avoid any perception of bias, and better advertise their work to encourage competition. She believes that with complaints against law firms usually centering around legal costs, that Legal Tender can seek to eliminate the uncertainty of fees. "We are an independent broker who can help clients through the often tortuous and expensive legal process," she said.
Legal Tender is free for organisations commissioning work, while the successful bidder is required to pay a flat fee to the service.