Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"Who Can I Sue?" Rubs Some Lawyers the Wrong Way

A new Florida-based website called "" (you can link to it here) is raising some hackles in the legal community.

The site, which was launched in 2008, attempts to match potential clients with attorneys specializing in the relevant field of law. It includes drop-down menus with broad categories (such as "Personal Injury" and "Nursing Home") and then subcategories (such as "Dog Bites" and "Bed Sores").

Certain members of the Florida bar are complaining that the site (1) feeds into negative stereotypes of lawyers "chasing" for clients and encouraging unnecessary litigation and (2) may violate bar guidelines that restrict the form and/or content of attorneys' advertisements.

The "Who Can I Sue" logo


Attorneys in Virginia are subject to a series of rules that govern how they can (and cannot) advertise their services. The Virginia rules are currently the subject of considerable discussion about how they should be applied to new forms of electronic communication and marketing.

Some attorneys think that any overt advertising -- aside from hanging a shingle from the office door and perhaps a discreet listing in the Yellow Pages -- cheapens the profession. Others (like those behind, we assume) argue that the public needs to be made aware of their legal rights, and attorney advertisements are one way that such education is accomplished.

As evidenced by the existence of this blog, Richmond & Fishburne is itself experimenting with new ways to reach out to the public. It will be interesting to see the way that the legal profession -- like many other professions -- continues to evolve with the ever-expanding reach of the internet.