A Perth barrister has set up a new website to allow clients to connect directly with barristers and solicitors.
Greg Carter (pictured), the founder of Lawyerselect.com.au, told Lawyers Weekly he “could see consumers were struggling to connect with the right lawyers and I could see lawyers were struggling in a crowded legal marketplace to be noticed”.
The way the website works is: lawyers and barristers post their profile; clients seeking a lawyer post a job; the job is then sent to lawyers with relevant experience and in the correct geographic area; lawyers respond to the client, and the client can then compare lawyers and select their preferred one.
“I see the future as lead generation and conversion [that] is more likely to occur online than in person,” said Carter. “Today’s clients don’t necessarily need to meet a lawyer in person to do business with them; they just want a lawyer to be a trusted advisor that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.”
Carter said the site’s unique selling point was the comparison function. After using a lawyer, clients are asked ‘Would you recommend this lawyer to other clients?’, to which they can answer ‘yes or no’.
“There’s no potential for reputations to be damaged,” Carter stressed, “because the recommendation function only allows ratings on the upside.
“If [the client responds] yes the lawyer accumulates another recommendation on their profile and, if it’s no, it goes nowhere; there will be nothing on the profile.
“Of course, a lawyer that has a greater number of recommendations will be more attractive than a lawyer that has less.”
The site was launched to allow lawyers and barristers to post profiles two weeks ago, and will be opened to clients in the WA market to post jobs at the end of the month.
“Right now it’s free for lawyers, from across the country, to put their profiles up,” Carter explained.
“At the end of August I’ll launch in WA for clients, then there will be a three-month free trial for lawyers in WA, but [posting profiles] will continue to be free for lawyers outside of WA until I roll out in other states.”
The cost for WA lawyers at the end of the three-month free trial period will be $500+GST per lawyer per annum.
“So the idea is I start small in WA, get things working here, and then roll out in other states.”
Law firms and barristers’ chambers are also able to post profiles on the site, which currently has profiles of about 15 legal practitioners.
“It is really a matter of making lawyers aware of it,” said Carter.
“I expected that it would be slow initially but, as more lawyers come onboard [and] see who else is on it [they will] think ‘oh, perhaps I should be on it too’.”