The Ethical Issues of Online Legal Matching Service: The case of Lifelaw Company
|關鍵字:||律師服務網路媒合平台;法易通;律師倫理規範;仲介服務;廣告;online legal matching service;Lifelaw Company;rules of professional conduct;referral service;advertising|
Lifelaw Company provided legal matching services that help people find suitable lawyers. When consumers encounter legal issues, they can find lawyers on Lifelaw Company’s website or by its cell phone service. Lawyers and Lifelaw Company shared fees paid by consumers on a percentage basis. The National Bar Association considered the fee-spiting agreement violated Article 12 of the Rules of Professional Conduct which prohibits lawyers from paying “matchmakers” and commanded lawyers to withdraw at once. This Article discusses whether it is ethical for lawyers to participate in Lifelaw Company’s service. This Article combines an interview with the founder of Lifelaw Company with other secondary resources as factual basis for further theoretical analysis. Since related discussions are relatively little in Taiwan, this Article also introduces theories and ethical opinions in U.S. as reference. Lifelaw Company marked the first case in which new technologies were used to promote lawyers’ service. This Article concludes that matching services are less likely to cause harm to consumers and therefore they should not be banned without any exception. Even if there are certain risks, minimal restraints should be applied. “Matchmakers” in Article 12 of the Rules of Professional Conduct should be construed as traditional lawyer referral service and new matching services such as Lifelaw Company does not fall into that category due to its distinct characteristics. This Article suggests that the National Bar Association should formulate explicit rules on lawyers’ use of matching service and other new technologies and related conditions, so that consumers can enjoy the benefits of new forms of marketing tools and lawyers can refrain from violating their professional obligations.
|Appears in Collections:||Thesis|
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