by Walter Olson on August 7, 2008

Another entry into the genre of for-profit websites offering to match aggrieved visitors with lawyers, this one is said to be based on a slightly tweaked format (including “talk to a live lawyer” options) sidestepping certain potential pitfalls ethical and otherwise. (Siobhan Morrissey, Time, Aug. 6). Per its press release:

…The unique process used by WhoCanISue.com also ensures that cases are not jeopardized inadvertently, a common pitfall of some other approaches to online matchmaking. Because WhoCanISue.com does not require submission of open-ended descriptions of the facts of the user’s claim, users are not forced to divulge information that could be deemed a waiver of the attorney-client priviledge [sic] resulting in the information being introduced in court and used against them.

WhoCanISue.com does not generate “leads” to potential clients, a method commonly used in online legal marketing that violates ethical rules governing most attorneys’ advertising. Instead, WhoCanISue.com’s patent pending model allows attorneys to bid on real-time ad placements – usually limited to five attorneys – delivered to users who have completed question paths to determine their qualification for a particular claim.

An earlier entry in the legal-matchmaking field, SueEasy.com, has come in for a fair bit of criticism in and out of the profession (“hairball generator“, “incredibly stupid” idea, “like a carpool for ambulance chasers“, etc.).

Reactions: Bill Childs does some legwork on the site’s sponsorship, throwing cold water on hasty, sloppy, or gullible speculation in some circles that the site might be a false-flag operation. Eric Turkewitz and Carolyn Elefant aren’t any more impressed this time around than they were with SueEasy.com.

{ 3 trackbacks }

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1 matt 08.07.08 at 12:24 pm

you have to be kidding me

2 Todd Rogers 08.07.08 at 3:21 pm

I’m sure that the judiciary was never meant to be a business driven by profit for shareholders, such as with a traditional commercial entity, be it mom & pop shops or Walmart. However, I’m very much a free market guy – pro-Laissez-faire, not unlike many of the readers here. So, I read about endeavors such as this and while it on the one hand makes my stomach turn, I still think the people who dream up things such as this are really crafty capitalists – they’re like foxes who have figured out how to build really attractive hen houses. I guess it’s just too damned bad that in their pursuits they also have screwed up a necessary system of an orderly and free society.

3 bill edwards 08.07.08 at 5:12 pm

There is more competition for this company. The domain (web address) WhoCanWeSue.com (and WhoCanIScrew.com) is available for sale at that address.

4 Kurt 08.08.08 at 6:48 am

There is one difference between a free market and the legal profession. If you think of the customers as the people you get the money from, in a free market they are voluntary, in the legal world they are not. If someone sues you, it costs you money just to defend yourself whether or not you did anything wrong. If I am selling something, it is the customers choice to buy or not. When you have the weight of the courts and law enforcement against you, there is very little choice for a defendant paying on a lawsuit.

5 Todd Rogers 08.08.08 at 7:17 am

Touche` – But that’s sort of my point. The ultimate pursuit of a vendor is to operate in a market where he/she has eliminated all competitors and thereby created a monopoly. Kind of like forcing (or channeling all) customers (or defendants) to use his product. However, I see your point.

6 Michael Tangeman 08.08.08 at 2:02 pm

Thanks for your post, Walter.

As further info toward your readers’ understanding and discussion here, I thought it might be helpful to provide links to:

WhoCanISue.com Backgrounder:

Curtis Wolfe bio:

The full press release online at PRNewswire:

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