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February 2, 2004

NYC Starts Online Settlement Experiment

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 10:58 pm

Personal injury claimants can now attempt to settle disputes with New York City through an experimental online settlement system   According to an article in the current Crains NY, “the city comptroller’s office has launched a two-year pilot of a computerized settlement system operated by Cybersettle Inc., which allows parties to submit offers and demands online.”   Only the settlement administrators see the offers, and “Settlements are reached if the demand and offer amounts overlap.”, City pilots online settlement system, via Law.Com Daily Newswire (02-03-04).

  • This sounds like a very promising experiment.  Naturally, e&h wonders whether fees will be adjusted downward to reflect the expedited process. 
  • Postscript (02-04-04)MyShingle’s Carolyn Elefant has posted on this topic at eLawyerBlog, opining that it would be unethical for plaintiff’s lawyer not to take the expedited procedure into account when arranging for or charging a contingency fee.  What’s striking is that there are so many lawyers who would disagree. 

Howard and Ernie Are Outliers — Your Results May Vary

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 1:00 pm

Yesterday, we wondered about the effects of ghost-written, “absentee” legal weblogs on the weblog community and lawyer marketing.   Today, Ernie the Attorney Svensen talks about Howard Bashman starting his own law practice and asks Websites or Weblogs? – What’s best for attorneys?.   Ernie quickly concludes:

 “Obviously, this question has no one answer, but Howard Bashman’s recent decision to start his own law practice (and leave the big firm in the big city) is illustrative of the power of weblogs.”

“Howard’s weblog helped propagate news of his great talent and strong reputation, and made it easier, at a minimum, for him to set out on his own.”

Howard and Ernie have had exceptional success with their weblogs, which are perfect examples of what it takes to create a really good weblog — a combination of special skill and valuable information, presented with a personal voice.   But, they are both statistical outliers, and their success tells us very little about the ability of weblogs in general to create reputation, generate clients or facilitate starting your own firm. 

Carolyn Elefant left a very apt Comment yesterday at this site:

As to marketing, here I will show that I can be as skeptical as you! If you read my recent piece on blogs in (link is here), I don’t believe that blogs serve as a marketing tool anymore than printing business cards. In other words, just because a lawyer prints up business cards, doesn’t mean he or she is going to get clients and just because a lawyer runs a blog, it doesn’t mean that clients will find, retain or decide to hire that lawyer. But…blogs are all part of the marketing puzzle – when lawyers start a blog with a personality and a voice, they get exposure which leads to quotes or articles in the media which leads to opportunities to “show off” to prospects by sending those articles as part of a marketing package. Or maybe someone will see the article you’ve been quoted in as a result of a journalist finding you via the blog. But despite what blog marketers may say, there’s no way that blogs are generating business for lawyers nor have I seen or heard evidence of clients finding a lawyer by virtue of coming across a blog.

Lawyers created reputations with their skills and successes long before websites existed — and broke away to start their own firms, too.  I don’t think we can generalize at all about the power of weblogs from the exceptional success of exceptional lawyers and webloggers.

  • ethicalEsq wants to add its voice to all the other webloggers sending Howard our best wishes as he starts his own appellate practice law firm today.

Follow-up (02-07-04):  Weblawg-vendor Kevin O’Keefe discusses Ernie and Howard and the power of weblogs here

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