By Sheryl Smolkin
Read this article and comments on moneyville.ca
When I recently wrote about ways to find a lawyer you can afford, I asked readers to let me know if there are any other resources that I forgot. I got a note from Jeff Fung about his online service that allows lawyers to bid on legal work submitted by potential clients.
MyLawBid.com is free and lets you anonymously complete an online form describing your issue. The form is sent to participating lawyers with a relevant practice. The lawyers respond describing their experience and how much they charge on an hourly or project basis. Applicants select the lawyer that best suits their legal and budgetary needs.
Fong left a major law firm last August to devote himself to his new business. His plan is to eventually charge lawyers for listing on the site, but for now the service is also free for them. More than 200 lawyers in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta have come onboard.
Five to seven people a week are submitting requests, looking for help in five main areas:
• Wills, estates, powers of attorney
• Family law, custody, divorce, separation agreements
• Real estate purchases, sales, conflicts
• Corporate law
• Intellectual property, trademarks.
Related: How to find a lawyer
While Fung says he is still eating a lot of Kraft dinner, he is confident that a growing number of lawyers will be prepared to pay for MyLawBid.com registration when the fee structure is introduced in July. Besides, he says making money is not his only objective. “Our goal is to help people get access to justice. We hope this will balance the negotiating power between lawyers and their clients.”