I have a large file bucket in my den where I throw all my scribbled notes concerning business ideas, blog posts and the like. I sift through them periodically in search of inspiration, and I’m always surprised at how many relate to the topic of change in the legal profession. Disruptive change is coming , and the possibilities fascinate me.
Last week I came across a rather cryptic “note-to self” that said only “Uber for lawyers”- it was an aide -memoir scrawled on the back of some printed material from a lawyers retreat I had attended with lawyers from my previous firm last year.
Fleshed out, the idea runs something like this: we as lawyers (especially those of us who practice in suburbia) spend an inordinate amount of time commuting to, and cooling our heels at, mandatory, but low or no value court appearances – showing up to fix trail dates, for pre-trial conferences, arraignments, and other assorted procedural matters. Often these appearances take only a very few minutes of court time, but consume half a day or more of the lawyers time, which the hapless client must pay for.
There ought to be a better way! so what if you could somehow connect with another lawyer who was going to be languishing in line in the same court, and pay him or her to make the appearance for you? We have long used ad-hoc “agency” arrangements for these nuisance court appearances, but it can be frustrating and time consuming trying to track down an appropriate agent. We need an Uber to act as matchmaker and payment processor.
Well, I suspect that the folks at Vortex Law must have sulked into my den in the dark of night and rifled through my “great ideas” file, because they have stolen my idea, and have now launched a website where law firms needing a warm breathing body in a particular court on a particular day, can shop the gig to a roster of pre-vetted lawyers. Looks like the service is only available in the US for now, and they are focusing on States like California, which are renowned for their time-sucking court appearances . but its only a matter of time before the service is available here.
Two questions remain, will the Vortex service actually help to reduce the cost of litigation, and , will this Uber for lawyer launch in Vancouver before Uber itself gets off the ground?