eBay for Lawyers? Shpoonkle - Justice You Can Afford?
Shpoonkle.com is a new website created by Robert Grant Niznik, a NYU law student. It's a free online resource for people who are hunting for a lawyer. They post information on the website about their case, and lawyers who are registered on the site "bid" to handle the case by offering their services for a certain price. The potential client chooses the lawyer she wants from the pool of lawyers who offered their services. The website suggests the potential client will choose the lawyer whose "price fits [her] budget," that is, the one who bid the lowest.
Good or bad?
Frankly, if I were looking for a lawyer, I would want to know a whole lot more about who I was hiring than just the fee I would be charged. Don't get me wrong; fee is very important, especially to individuals whose finances are already strapped in this economy. But, should fee be the deciding factor?
Here is a list of the kind of information I would want to know before hiring a lawyer:
1. What is the lawyer's experience solving the particular problem I have?
2. What do the lawyer's former clients say about the way their cases were handled by the lawyer?
3. What has the lawyer done in the legal community to teach other lawyers about the law?
4. What do other lawyers say about the competency of the lawyer to handle my case?
Not every lawyer is competent to handle every case. I do not handle criminal or divorce or business disputes. Most of the lawyers who do probably do not handle serious personal injury cases.
If I needed a lawyer, could I tell from the lowest bidder on Shpoonkle.com how much the lawyer knows about how to handle MY case?
I tell potential clients, some of whom do not hire me, that if a case is important, it is important to find the right lawyer. Maybe Sphoonkle.com is the right way to go for some people, but not all. There just isn't much information about who is doing the bidding.
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