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Ethical Considerations About the New 'Uber for Lawyers' App

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

So Text A Lawyer wants to be the next Uber.

Yeah, and George C. Parker has a bridge to sell you. Not to be judgmental or anything, but doesn't everybody want to be the next Uber -- without all the lawsuits?

The real question is, can lawyers really make money with this app? Oh, and because of Uber and all that, is it ethical?

Real Money

Kevin Gillespie, a legal tech innovator, says lawyers can make $150 an hour with Text A Lawyer from the comfort of their smart devices. The app goes live next month, according to LawSites.

It will match texters with lawyers who answer questions at $20 each and $9 per follow up. It works like Uber because the attorneys have to compete with others to answer questions promptly. If you are available and prompt, you'll be a busy lawyer.

The good news for consumers is that it's a lot less than $150 an hour -- as long as they don't have too many follow-up questions. The good news for lawyers is the questions are likely to be short, not Twitter short, but consumer short.

There are other money-making apps for attorneys, but texting is something lawyers already do. So is text law an ethical practice?

Ethical Texting

Of course, there are legal limits to texting -- you know what they are. Text A Lawyer has worked out the bugs related to the app.

To avoid fee-splitting and commingling, the company holds each credit card purchase until the question-answer session is complete. Then it sends $15 of the initial fee and $8 of the follow-up fee to the attorney.

The app runs through a conflict-check and a competency check, too. Naturally, it also includes the necessary disclosures for limited scope attorneys.

Gillespie says he worked through a national law firm to ensure ethical compliance in almost every state. The business will start in Oregon and Washington.

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