Posted Jun 17, 2011 01:38 pm CDT
A new company called LawyerUp promises contact with a lawyer within 15 minutes of a legal emergency.
Founder Chris Miles, a nonlawyer, is operating his company in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, report the New York Times and Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly (sub. req.) in a story reprinted at KatherineGodinLaw.com.
LawyerUp is paid $100 for the first call, or $4.95 a month under a subscriber plan, and the lawyer earns up to $250 for the first hour of work. The lawyers don’t pay to get on roster, though they should be willing to get late-night calls. The payment system is structured so lawyers don’t violate ethics rules that bar lawyers from splitting fees with nonlawyers.
The Times asked Connecticut Bar Association President Ralph Monaco about LawyerUp. He opined that the company name was “so tasteless” and said it could create relationships with lawyers who gouge their new clients. But he said he wouldn’t warn lawyers away and would wait to see how the service works.
So far, about 700 people have signed up, Miles tells the Times. “If I want a pizza, I can get a pizza in 15 minutes,” he said. “I can get a plumber in the middle of the night. Why can’t I get a lawyer?”