Kevin O’ Keefe reports in his excellent “Real Lawyers Have Blogs” that Amazon is experimenting with using its A9 search engine to rate service providers. Here’s a link to a “lawyer” search that appears to default to the Seattle area. Kevin notes that A9 will allow users to rate service providers, much in the way Amazon users rate books, music and other products.
As I played around with A9 a bit, I noticed that it picked up my Amazon member information, and indicated lawyers near me, with a map showing exactly where they were located, including contact information.
I think that this service will initially be more useful for individuals who are looking for a lawyer, rather than corporate counsel.
However, if I were looking for bankruptcy counsel on a moderate sized claim on the West Coast, why not take a look on A9? And then check out the firm web site linked off A9. What if the counsel (like Amazon does with books) was offering a 20% discount on services “this week only”?
When I was at the offices of one of my outside counsel this week, I noticed part of the 2005 edition of Martindale-Hubbell sitting in two huge boxes in a conference room. Not this many but still a hefty set. They do look good on the shelf (often a required back-drop for lawyer interviews), but their days have to be numbered. M-H does offer CD and online versions, as well as search through lawyers.com. All good information; but I haven’t used M-H in years.
A closed system used by Martindale-Hubbell doesn’t really work anymore. A9 is a threat, but the bigger challenge is a general counsel who calls a colleague for a referral, checks the firm website, and Googles them. Perhaps you check Martindale, but it’s no longer the gold standard.
Thursday BitTorrent, Friday A9. Who knows what Monday will bring?