Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What Domino's is for Pizzas, "LawyerUp" is for Lawyers

Many claim that there is an oversupply problem for lawyers in Ireland. Others argue that legal services are too expensive and that those really needing legal help are unable to afford it. Yet no one is claiming that these problems are bedeviling the pizza market in Ireland. Conversely, I recall reading that Dominos experienced dramatic growth in Ireland over the last couple of years despite the dreadful financial climate. Irishmen and women have plenty of choice when it comes to pizza at competitive rates whether they want to dine in or take away. In sum, the pizza market is the very picture of good financial health.

Is there a lesson in this for lawyers? Yes, according to a new company in the U.S. called LawyerUp which promises to provide a lawyer within 15 minutes. As reported by the New York Times, "[t]he service’s personal plan, aimed at young people, costs $4.95 a month. Those who do not have a subscription can pay a flat fee of $100 for the first call, which the company calls its “pay-in-a-pinch plan.” For all clients, an operator checks contact information and processes the lawyer’s initial fee of $250 on a credit card for the first hour of service." And what's even better, lawyers do not have to pay anything to be on the company's list. There's even an app on Android for this service.

One wonders if Irish lawyers will take innovation to these lengths. And if Irish professional ethics rules permit these sorts of practices. Whatever the case, few things beat the joys of 15-minute pizza, but I am less convinced about the merits of a 15-minute lawyer.