A new company has made an audacious bid to encourage in-house lawyers and companies to use the web rather than existing panel arrangements when choosing law firms.
Sydney-based company e-brief, which was launched earlier this month, offers clients the chance to submit a confidential proposal for legal work, with lawyers who subscribe to the site able to make a tender submission in an attempt to pick up work.
"We are hoping the technology will eventually come to a point where it can replace paneling," said Neeraj Chand, the website development manager of the fledgling company and qualified technology lawyer. "Your sophisticated clients, your informed consumer, can then have a look at the different proposals and make a choice."
e-brief was started by former lawyers, including Chand, with the company looking at similar legal websites in the USA and those that cater to different professions in developing its concept.
Currently, e-brief has around 40 lawyers subscribed to it, ranging from those at top-tier firms to smaller boutiques.
Chand said that by the end of the year, it was hoped the company would have a few hundred subscribers covering most areas of commercial practice.
"We will try and cater to people who like to do their research online and acquire goods and services online," said Chand. "It captures the market where traditional legal marketing doesn't go, as that is still stuck around the dinners, the lunches, print media and word of mouth."