LegalMatch is a matchmaking service for clients and attorneys. Their goal is to provide customers with a list of attorneys that are qualified in the specific legal field in which the customer needs assistance with. The list of attorneys provided is within the local area of the customer. LegalMatch is based in the USA and caters for American clients only. The LegalMatch service is free to use. Clients are able to review the profiles of the attorneys’ and may pick out the one of their choice; however, the client is under no obligation to do so.
The site provides a full spectrum of legal categories to cater for a diverse range of problems in the field of law. Some examples include, Jobs and Employment, Personal Injury, Business and Contracts, Family and Divorce, and Criminal Defense.
LegalMatch also have an online ‘library’ of useful articles. There is a forum where customers may communicate with others about their problems, or post in the off-topic section.
LegalMatch commenced operations in 1999. Its’ purpose is to help clients select the most appropriate lawyer for their legal problem. They are made aware of the fees that the lawyer charges, and are able to make a fully informed choice. From the other perspective, it also allows attorneys to offer their services to specific clients. The company is based in South San Francisco, California, USA. The founders of LegalMatch are lawyers. The present CEO is Laurie Ziffrin. LegalMatch provides its services across the states of America.
395 Oyster Point Blvd. Suite 550
South San Francisco, CA 94080
Tel: (415) 946-3744
Fax: (415) 449-3648
From an attorney’s point of view (another form of customer), the site appears to be a scam. LegalMatch require a membership payment from attorneys. This information is not provided until after the interview selection process has been carried out.
“…Three (3) year Membership for $73,795 per year, only if The Committee selects attorney….Here's the real kicker: they don't guarantee you any business at all!…”[ButIDidEverythingRight
It seems that there are former members of the LegalMatch sales team that weren’t happy.
“…I was one of the salespeople at Legalmatch. For a very short time. (There are hundreds of us, and most of us were lied to as much or more than the attorneys.) Most attorneys did not have great success with the service…”[The[non]BillableHour]
And potential clients have been verbally abused.
“…an attorney who contacted me through this company and have never been verbally abused and spoken to with such disgust by a so called professional…”[Yelp.com]
Had their cases removed from the site?
“…In a nutshell, after posting my case on legalmatch.com after one day my case was deactivated and deleted. I did not know why…”[RipoffReport]
Attorneys who have had paying clients choose not to renew.
“…many of the referrals through LegalMatch are very low money cases and just not clients you even want. It has more than paid for itself the two years we’ve had it but we will not renew…”[SoloInChicago]
The majority of the complaints on the Internet tend to be made by attorneys that ‘took out a membership’ with LegalMatch.
”…I am a victim of this marketing scheme used against lawyers who are sole practitioners…A class action needs to be filed in California…A substantial non dischargeable judgment will shut this operation down.[RipoffReport]
And paid a large fee, only to get…0 clients.
“…Even though we spent hours responding to cases and giving out free advice on the phone and via email, 5 months later we had not one client…”[RipoffReport]
This client was advised to go elsewhere by an outside source.
“…I registered with legalmatch.com last week and have still not heard anything from them...”[JustAnswer]
There was a ‘good’ review but upon further investigation it transpired that the writer works for LegalMatch (not as an attorney!).
In general, attorneys who signed up to the LegalMatch scheme believe that they were deceived and scammed into paying out extortionate fees with the promise of a large number of clientele and income. The potential clients have suffered from abuse, had their cases deleted from the website, and some of them simply heard nothing back from LegalMatch. This has led to them wasting valuable time, particularly in legal situations where fast action is of the essence. In effect, attorneys are not receiving the services they expected from LegalMatch, and neither are clients.
The Better Business Bureau award LegalMatch with a rating of A+. There were 12 complaints lodged over the duration of 3 years. LegalMatch have received a reward, though it isn’t related to their services but rather the design and layout of their website…The ’Webby Worthy’ Award. They are quoted in an article on the Tahlequan Daily Press site, dated the 10th October 2012. The presence of LegalMatch on mainstream media channels is minimal.
According to the WorthofWeb analysis, LegalMatch receives 55,320 daily visitors (1,659,587 monthly visitors), and 254,470 daily Pageviews. The Alexa Traffic Rank for LegalMatch is 40,980, which is good, and it has a reputation of 1,753. Visitors to the site are generally from the US, are female with some college education. They are mainly in the 55-64, age bracket, and access the site from school. It has a Google PageRank of 6.
LegalMatch maintain an onsite blog, and this is posted to regularly. There is also a LinkedIn account for LegalMatch. People regularly post to the LegalMatch Facebook page, but it is unclear as to whether or not company members maintain the site. The page has 2,838 ‘Likes’, 20 ‘Talking About This’, and 12 ‘Were Here’. A Twitter account is maintained and updated regularly by LegalMatch. There are 1,835 Tweets, 848 Following, and 956 Followers. There has not been any activity on their Google+ account since February 2012. It has 31 ‘Have Them In Circles’.
In general, LegalMatch regularly post on their website blog and Twitter account, and maintain an active presence on both sites. Other media platforms, even though accounts exist, are neglected.
LegalMatch receives a score of 100/100 from Webutation. This indicates that it’s a safe website in accordance with Google Safebrowsing, Website Antivirus, Norton Safeweb, WOT, and Child Safety. Google Diagnostics also show that the site is safe in terms of Malware and other suspicious activity. FairSSL indicates that LegalMatch.com has only one certificate and it is noted that this could be problematic. The certificate was issued by Equifax and expires in February 2013. Its’ certificate key has a ‘Normal Security’. Overall, LegalMatch.com is apparently a safe and secure site for its visitors.
LegalMatch provide a means for clients and attorneys to be brought together. The initial matchmaking service that is provided to clients is free of charge. Subsequent costs, relating to the hire of an attorney, are undisclosed on the site. The individual attorney determines his/her hire fees. The LegalMatch membership fees charged to attorneys is considerable, and there have been many complaints. There doesn’t appear to be any mention relating to the price of membership on the LegalMatch website. However, it may be noted that it was reported to be in the region of $73,000 per annum, but that figure is unlikely to be current.
LegalShield operate in a similar fashion, and it serves as a platform to bring clients and attorneys together. With LegalShield, clients pay a monthly fee of $20, and may use the services of an attorney as often as they require. In this respect LegalMatch has a better pricing since it’s actually free. However, in terms of attorney membership fees, that information is not freely available on either site.
The nature of how these legal matchmaking businesses operate is that the owners of the company make their living from the membership fees imposed upon attorneys. This should therefore be a primary consideration when making price comparisons; however, the companies are extremely ‘secretive’ about these figures.
Shipping is not applicable to this website.
It is unclear as to how attorneys pay for their membership fee. There is no indication that payment takes place upon the site.This can be a bit frustrating for potential customer that want to find out how or what methods to use for payment of their membership fee, some thing as important as payment methods should be placed upfront and center on their website.
LegalMatch indemnifies itself in its’ policy against any losses, or other issues arising through the use of its site. This includes any problems that may occur between the client and the attorney. Their FAQs claim that a client posting on the site will receive responses from attorneys within 3 working days. However, there have been complaints whereby cases have been deleted from the site, and other situations where clients have not received any contact after a week has transpired. This can cause serious problems for clients that require legal help quickly, and causes further delay when they are forced to look elsewhere for a suitable attorney.
From the attorneys’ point of view, before joining up, they are given the impression that they will receive a number of paying clients per month. There have been many complaints from attorneys who have received very few (if any) clients, and quite often the clients available have cases that aren’t desirable. Either the case cannot be won, or the fee that the client can afford is too low. Subsequently, some attorneys have lost a great deal of money through the LegalMatch scheme.
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