Yesterday a legal start-up I had never heard of put up a rather interesting story. LawDeeDa aims to be a social network for lawyers (yes, another one). No comment on their name or business model, but what they shared was troubling. LawDeeDa had been subject to massive amounts of spam from FindLaw.
This isn’t the first time FindLaw has used dirty tactics or spammed people in order to drum up traffic. In fact, it seems to be something of a recurring event. But even more troubling to me is what I keep hearing about FindLaw’s tactics when it comes to their attorney websites. [EDIT: As pointed out to me by Scott Greenfield, Texas criminal defense lawyer Mark Bennett has been writing about FindLaw extensively for some time as well] FindLaw provides websites, social media, and blogs to firms. Conveniently, it also provides advertising opportunities on FindLaw.
From what I have heard, these websites cost thousands of dollars, full control is retained by FindLaw, and the contracts are impossible to get out off. Attorneys have told me that it is impossible to get customer support, there are tons of extra fees, and they feel bullied and trapped by FindLaw. All the while FindLaw is spamming the entire internet in these attorneys’ names. It seems to me that FindLaw is taking advantage of new and/or technology unsavvy new lawyers. I take offense at this and want to get to the bottom of it. Of course, I could be wrong and FindLaw is on the up & up. But considering their history, I have my doubts.
So I have a request. If you, or another attorney you know, has had negative experiences with FindLaw, I want to hear about them.
firstname.lastname@example.org with a subject of Findlaw. I’ll keep everything anonymous. Normally I don’t ask, but please forward/share this with other attorneys you know. I’d like to get to the bottom of this for good.