Technology has ushered in a new age of legal services and the legal marketplace is quickly expanding, offering unconventional avenues for connecting lawyers with consumers. Attorney participation in such endeavors requires compliance with ethical obligations. Non-lawyer owners also have a variety of legal issues to navigate in setting up or revising these business models. An alternative legal services provider (“ALSP”), and other providers of alternative access to legal services, can minimize its own risks, as well as risks to its consumers and its participating lawyers, if legal ethics requirements are thoughtfully considered and incorporated into its business model.
O’Rielly & Roche has been at the forefront of this new era both inside and outside of the office. Our experience in advising and representing law-related businesses, coupled our active participation in local, state and national organizations and committees on these issues, gives us a unique perspective to provide legal ethics and risk management consulting not only to the law firms and attorneys who use these services, but also to lawyer or non-lawyer owned ALSPs and other providers of alternative access to legal services, which includes:
- Legal technology services
- Legal marketing and advertising services
- Online legal marketplaces
- Attorney directories
- Matching services
- Social media platforms
- Similar businesses in the legal industry
ALSPs and other providers of alternative access to legal services are operating at the leading edge of the legal industry. They’re trailblazing new business models and systems for providing access to legal services that weren’t envisioned even a decade ago. The regulatory framework has not caught up. Nevertheless, businesses in this space, and the lawyers who have begun to participate with them, are subject to the rules as they currently stand.
At O’Rielly & Roche, we’re here to help you navigate this new legal marketplace in the context of the applicable rules. We counsel and advise California law-related businesses operating in the legal industry on compliance, regulatory, structure, and operations issues for alternative legal service providers, and law-related businesses, including:
- Compliance with California legal and ethics rules;
- California State Bar regulatory compliance;
- Entity structure for lawyer and non-lawyer owned law-related businesses, and analysis of business models;
- Fee agreements and fee-sharing issues, referral fees, legal marketing and sales, advertising and solicitation, billing and invoicing, client engagement, administrative service agreements, platform service agreements, terms of service agreements, and service provider agreements; and
- Drafting key business documents.