Should Online Legal Referral Services be Regulated? If So By Whom? If Not Why Not?


Should Online Legal Referral Services be Regulated? If So By Whom? If Not Why Not?

Recorded On 10/26/2018


In many ways we are becoming more and more dependent on our digital devices for both business and personal endeavors. Yet in other ways the business environment has not really changed — businesses are still trying to reach as broad a potential market as possible and counterbalancing potential  regulatory and consumer protection issues are still being raised by their products.

In the legal arena, online attorney referral services have become an attractive way for attorneys to generate new business, while serving as a simple and cost effective way for the public to have their legal needs met — if the public is properly protected. Indeed, some referral services have recently run into problems, especially with regard to violating the attorney ethical rules.

Join us for an important discussion of the issues associated with the use of on-line legal referral services. The program will bring together all interested parties, including representatives from such services, to understand how the referral services work; whether they are improving access to justice, especially for the poor and middle class; the ethical implications of the referral service models and their impact on the core values of the legal profession. We will explore whether regulation is necessary to protect consumers in the legal services commercial marketplace or whether the attorney ethics rules need to be modified to reflect the realities of the new digital frontier.

The program will consist of three panels, each followed by a question and answer session:

Panel 1: The Online Legal Referral Industry: How it Developed; How it Works; Is it Improving Access to Justice?

Panel 2: Ethical Implications of Online Legal Referral Services

Panel 3: Looking Forward: Do Consumers Need Protection, and if so Who Should Play a Role? Do the Attorney Ethics Rules Need to be Changed? What are the Next Steps and Where do we go From Here?


Program Co-sponsor: NYCLA’s Task Force on On-line Legal Services

NYCLA’s  Task Force on On-Line Legal Services Co-Chairs: Arthur Norman Field, Field Consulting Services LLC and Sarah Jo Hamilton, Scalise and Hamilton LLP

Faculty: Vincent Chang, Wollmuth Maher & Deutsch LLP; Arthur Norman Field, Field Consulting Services LLC; James J. Grogan, Deputy Administrator and the Chief Counsel (DACC) of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois (ARDC); Sarah Jo Hamilton, Scalise and Hamilton LLP; Joshua M. King, Former Chief Legal Officer, AVVO, Inc.; James B. Kobak, Jr., Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP; Mirra Levitt, Priori Legal; Ronald Minkoff, Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, PC; David P. Miranda, Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti PC; Roy D. Simon, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Law, Hofstra Law; Kristen Wagner, Director, Pro Bono Services at New York State Bar Association; Amy Widman, Deputy Director, National Center for Access to Justice Fordham Law School; George D. Wolff, Executive Director, NYC Bar Association’s Legal Referral Service (LRS) Contributor: Kathy  Walter, Excelsior Fellow, New York State ITS and CEO, Nsoma


4 NY CLE Credits; 3 Ethics, 1 DIEB


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