That is how co-founder Claudio Dunkelman describes his new lawyer-client matching site, LawZam. The site aims to connect consumers with attorneys by facilitating free, face-to-face consultations conducted live via videoconferencing.
“LawZam is like speed dating for the legal world,” Dunkelman, a Los Angeles lawyer, says in a press release. “Our unique platform gives you the ability to video chat with a lawyer, and keep talking if it’s a match. If not, you are able to initiate chats with different lawyers through the site until you find one that fits your needs.”
Neither consumers nor attorneys will be charged a fee to use the site. The site’s plan is to support itself through advertising and roll-out premium services in the future. If the free initial consultation results in an engagement, the fee is for the client and lawyer to agree on.
Consumers will be able to search the site by location, area of law or attorney name. When they find an attorney with whom they wish to consult, they click a “Consult” button on the attorney’s profile. Consultations can take place immediately if the attorney is online or be scheduled for a later time using the site’s calendaring system.
LawZam’s terms of service emphasize that it is not a referral service or a provider of legal advice. It simply provides the venue for consumers and lawyers to meet and consult.
I tend to be skeptical about lawyer-client matching sites. Some are misleading and some are outright rip-offs. This one, however, strikes me as a good idea. Brief initial consultations via videoconference make sense for consumers and for lawyers. Consumers are able to screen potential lawyers in a more informed way. Lawyers avoid often-unproductive and lengthy office visits and get to see the potential client face to face.