A Flat Fee Uncontested Divorce Is A Community Service

by Marietta Divorce Uncontested Divorce Georgia - Marietta Divorce
flat fee uncontested divorce

It wasn’t until 1977 that the U.S. Supreme Court allowed legal advertising as protected speech under the First Amendment, so long as it complied with the ethical rules of individual state bar associations. Bates v. Arizona State Bar 433 U.S. 350 (1977). I wasn’t long before non-lawyers began recruiting clients by advertising flat-fee legal services and referring them to lawyers for a “finder’s fee”. This seemed to stretch the purpose of advertising.  Advertising a flat fee for a legal service is meant to be a service to the community, i.e., letting clients know what certain legal services would cost. It was not meant to start a whole new business where non-lawyers could hustle clients for a fee charged to the lawyer.

Avvo Flat-fee Services shut down:

The operator of, a popular online legal marketplace for lawyers and clients, shut down its Avvo Legal Services product on July 31, 2018, amidst criticism that it was in violation of legal ethics rules. The service offered online clients limited legal services provided by participating lawyers for a flat-fee determined by Avvo. The lawyer was paid by Avvo after the service was complete, but was required to pay a "marketing" fee back to Avvo. Since Avvo Legal Services was unveiled in 2016, it has been scrutinized by several state bar ethics committees advising that a lawyer's participation in the service violated the rules of professional conduct. Although Avvo vehemently defended the service, and gained some unlikely support along the way, the pressure from regulators eventually led to its demise.

Advertising guidelines:

By 2007, the New York bar promulgated rules establishing guidelines for advertising.  They prohibited certain endorsements or testimonials from a former client; portrayal of judges, paid, undisclosed payment of testimonials; portrayal of a judge, or fictitious lawyer or law firm; use of actors or fictionalized persons; irrelevant characteristics of the lawyers; ads that resemble legal documents; certain limits on soliciting new clients for 30 days after a tort; certain other limits on communications with non-clients, and use of a nickname or moniker. Some of these restrictions have been done away with.

Why do Attorneys offer flat fee uncontested divorce services?

Individual attorneys can advertise flat fee uncontested divorce legal services so long as there are no “kickbacks” or practices that resemble “ambulance chasing”. Attorneys offer flat-fee services in uncontested divorces because they know approximately how much time is involved to complete a divorce case and can attract more clients if there is a definite flat fee for their services. We’ve come a long way since 1977.

Get a Free Uncontested Divorce Consultation

The free uncontested divorce consultation offered by some lawyers is an offspring of the free speech right established for legal advertising in 1997. A free consultation is meant to give a client information pertinent to his or her case.  Several law firms advertise free consultations for the purpose of obtaining the client’s phone number and selling a law firm’s services.  More conscientious lawyers actually try to help, accepting that the consultation will not yield a new client. In any event, there is little downside to a free consultation.  It can save hours of scouring the internet for information. 

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Created on Sep 13th 2019 02:35. Viewed 555 times.


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