For a small per-case marketing fee, family lawyers can offer fixed-fee legal services online.
Avvo, a lawyer directory website, is now testing out the service in a few states – Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and Phoenix – and will be adding more locations starting in February.
This service comes over a year after Avvo launched Avvo Advisors, a service that allows lawyers to offer on-demand legal advice to clients at a fixed rate of $39 for 15-minute conversations over the phone.
From getting legal documents reviewed to having uncontested divorce papers filed, individuals and couples can choose the attorney they want based on geographic area. Avvo will decide which services will be offered and what the prices will be, and the lawyer can then decide which services they would like to offer once signed up.
Services family lawyers may offer through Avvo:
Family advice session ($39)
Prenuptial agreement review ($149)
Parenting plan review ($149)
Separation agreement review ($199)
Create a parenting plan ($595)
File for uncontested divorce ($995)
The client pays the service fees up front, and once the payment is received, the lawyer receives the client’s information.
When hired to review a document, Avvo will send the lawyer the client’s information and the legal document. The lawyer must note any errors or changes and consider follow-up questions. The client must be contacted within one business day for a 30-minute phone call to discuss the document and provide legal advice for the client’s situation.
In the case of other services, such as filing for uncontested divorce, the lawyer must call the client one business day after the client pays for the service to introduce themselves and decide if the client is a right fit. Lawyers have the right to decline a client if he/she is not suitable for the service (for example, if the divorcing couple has children younger than 18 years old and requires creating parenting and custody agreements).
The attorney will receive payments once a month for services completed during the prior month; there’s no need to send invoices.
For each service, the lawyer must also pay a marketing fee to Avvo, which will depend on what service was provided. For a separation agreement review, the marketing fee will be $50; for an uncontested divorce, the marketing fee will be $200.
After the service has been completed, clients are invited to rate and review their lawyer and, if needed, can continue the divorce process at the lawyer’s private practice – particularly when services not offered by Avvo are required.
By Martha Chan
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