It’s pretty safe to say that just a few decades ago, the idea that attorneys would advertise their fees to the general public was unheard of – in fact, it used to be banned altogether.But even the stalwart legal industry hasn’t been able to resist change, especially in the last few years since the recession hit.
There are just too many lawyers out there—three law students graduate for every medical student—and firms are scrambling to keep up with competition. And if that means lifting the veil on their service fees, then so be it.
AttorneyFee.com has capitalised on the shift in legal culture in a big way. The site was only launched six months ago and already has compiled legal fees for more than 25,000 consumer law firms in the country, according to Richard Komaiko, co-founder.
“Most of the disagreements between clients and their attorneys are over charges,” Komaiko says. “We thought if we could bring more transparency to that it would do a lot of good…this has been long overdue for our industry.”
On the site, users have a bird’s eye view of the entire industry for the first time. For example, someone in Atlanta looking for an affordable divorce attorney could easily see the going rate in their city, decreasing their chances of getting price gouged.
“‘No one is really approaching price the way we are,” he says. “We have the ability to say, beyond this lawyer, what is the actual fair price in your market?”
The site also partners with Yelp! and legal ratings service AVVO to offer firm ratings. Despite some initial hesitance from the legal industry – the site was slammed by legal bloggers after its launch – it continues to chip away at the consumer law sector.
“No one is really approaching price the way we are,” Komaiko says. “The popular misconception that lawyers won’t list their prices is our competitor.”