Check out the article on LitigationBids.com from Progressive Legal Practice!
Every day Brad J. Allen hopes to pair lawyers with litigation support vendors just like Match.com seeks to establish connections between singles in the online dating world.
After toiling in the litigation support field for many years, Allen says he realized there was a need to introduce companies offering those services to litigating lawyers needing them. There’s a particular need when the attorney is not located near where the services are needed, so they may not know whom to call for assistance, Allen says.
With that thought in mind, Allen established Litigation Bids in 2014. As president of the Houston-based company, Allen aims to “bridge the gap” between attorneys and litigation support vendors anywhere in the country.
“If you are in litigation or preparing for trial, we can help you,” he says.
How it Works
The process of initiating contact between litigation lawyers and vendors offering services they might need is simple. To sign up, vendors or legal professionals complete a quick and easy form on the “get started” page from the menu on Litigation Bids’ home page.
If there is another task the lawyer wishes to advertise, they can surf to a specific section of the site. To post a bidding opportunity, the lawyer completes a form describing the legal services needed. If the services requested are for a specific date, time and location, that information is to be provided in as much detail as practicable.
Although this descriptive information is included in the request for bids, the lawyer and their location are not identified. The cost to the lawyer? Zero. It’s the vendors who pay to play. Vendors can click on the green “vendor get started” button on the bottom of the home page.
Currently, vendors wishing to bid on jobs have two ways to do so, but at a price. Bidding on a single project costs $49. If the service provider wishes to bid more often, it might be more economical to pay a $200 monthly charge to make unlimited bids.
Because Litigation Bids is new and the volume of bid requests is low, it’s more economical to go with the bid-as-you-go rate, acknowledges Allen. However, as the company ramps up its marketing efforts, Allen is confident that will change.
An additional incentive for testing out the site is that vendors are welcome to register for a free, one-time, 30-day trial membership to Litigation Bids. Meanwhile, Allen decided to make both ends of the bidding process anonymous to “prevent low-balling.” There is no way for competing vendors to see what other companies bid for projects, which Allen thinks also adds a layer of security to the entire transaction.
If a lawyer accepts a vendor’s bid, the parties then take their business off the site to hash out the details. Until the parties enter into whatever they consider a valid contract, neither the lawyer nor the vendor are beholden to one another.
Meanwhile, Allen doesn’t accept any legal liability or responsibility for the success of transactions between parties utilizing Litigation Bids. “Out TOC states that although job postings and bids are anonymous, Litigation Bids does try to ensure vendors possess the credentials to fulfill the jobs they are seeking,” Allen says. “When a vendor registers, they agree to abide by our Rules of Behavior.” For example, vendors must be based in the United States and provide professional references. As Litigation Bids evolves, Allen says he will implement additional venues for lawyers to vet vendors prior to accepting their bid proposals.
A View From the Trenches
This past February, Stephen Mahoney, Complex Case Manager for Orange Legal, was perusing LinkedIn when he happened upon a feed about Litigation Bids. Since part of his job involves attracting new business to his company, he checked out Allen’s site. He registered for the free, 30-day trial membership and has since bid on, and been hired on, a few litigation support opportunities.
Because there aren’t too many opportunities on the site just yet, Orange Legal pays the $49 cost to bid on jobs. They’ll continue to operate that way until Mahoney can justify to his employer that it’s worth paying the monthly fee, he says. Still, he admits to checking out the site “regularly” so he can jump on a bidding opportunity as soon as one presents itself.
Orange Legal not only maintains offices throughout Florida, they also have affiliates in each of the 50 states, according to Mahoney. Since Mahoney’s employer offers a wide variety of litigation services, such as case management, e-discovery, court reporting and videography, a service like Litigation Bids is a fantastic way for companies like Orange Legal to garner new business they might not have otherwise obtained anywhere in the U.S., says Mahoney.
Mahoney sees a bright future for offerings like Litigation Bids. He says it “opens a platform for lawyers and law firms to find professional and vetted litigation support companies to ensure they receive top-notch services at competitive prices.”
When Jeff Pekar, a solo practitioner focusing on property insurance litigation was in the market for legal support services earlier this year, connections referred him to Litigation Bids. He has since utilized the service for a few depositions and found the experience so positive, he was going to post his need for legal support related to trial presentation. However, those cases settled, so he didn’t need to.
“I turned to Litigation Bids because it seemed to be a convenient vehicle for getting legal support services. I had dealt with court reporting companies and other legal support while I was on the defense side, but I didn’t have any personal connections to them,” he says, noting he had practiced PI defense law before hanging his solo shingle in 2014.
As a single practitioner concerned with controlling the costs of litigation, he decided to see if using Litigation Bids would help him tamp down those costs. “I would use it again,” Pekar says of Litigation Bids. “It was simple to use and resulted in working relationships with new legal support vendors. I think it’s a great website if you are an attorney who does not know who to use for some litigation issue. It allows you the opportunity to shop for quotes and get information about the bidders who can help you with your case,” he says.
Tami Kamin Meyer is an Ohio attorney and writer.