A new venture aims to offer law firms the chance to tender for work after the request for help is posted by potential clients.
The concept, called LawBid, is already used in the US. It is being set up in the UK by Kid Harwood (pictured), a solicitor director at Manchester firm Wildings, and will go live from next month.
Harwood said that the venture is not a straightforward legal comparison site but instead puts the onus on lawyers to offer services at the most reasonable rates to secure new work.
‘We offer clients a different way to search for and interact with legal professionals and choose the right legal services with minimum effort,’ he said.
Through the website, users can upload their case requirements and set parameters such as location. The site then matches the cases with the most suitable law firms, who are informed by email.
Solicitors must register their interest in taking on the case within 24 hours of the client’s posting and make a bid by offering their quotation.
Clients then make their choice based on the price and service offered, and can also view a customer review rating to help make their choice.
After introducing the two parties, the price and smaller details are agreed privately, with solicitor’s fees never put into the public domain.
‘The tendering aspect of the Lawbid model is designed to create competition in the market place which benefits consumers in the form of lower costs for legal services,’ said Harwood.
The site is free for firms to register and feature on the site, with the option to upgrade for a range of further benefits on a standard package for £295 a year, or a premium package for £495.
Harwood is the founder and director of LawBid, which he says is backed by a small team of web developers and marketing executives.
He said research had found the legal industry can at times seem unapproachable and confusing to many members of the public and Lawbid was designed to bridge the gap by opening up a dialogue between lawyer and client.
The development of the project has mainly been self-funded so far. The site will be marketed through digital platforms and social media campaigns, as well as advertising through TV, radio and print.