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Here is an interesting article from The New Jersey Law Journal on whether or not lawyers are allowed to use online coupons in order to lure in new clients. The ABA for the first time tried to provide guidance and answer the question on whether or not lawyers are allowed to use online coupon services to discount their legal services.
"Coupon deals pass muster because the amount paid for them can be seen as an advertising fee, so long as it is a reasonable sum. For example, a coupon that cost $25 might entitle the buyer to a certain number of hours at a 50 percent discount. The marketing company winds up with $25 for its services while the discounted fees are paid directly to the lawyer, who keeps all of the money."
"Prepaid services deals, on the other hand, look like fee splitting with non-lawyers. For instance, $1,000 worth of legal services might be bought for $500, with the coupon company sending some of the money to the lawyer and keeping the rest."
There was however, no unanimous decision by states on this matter. Some states like New York and Maryland are allowing the use of online coupons where other such as Alabama and Indiana forbid them as unethical.
What are your thoughts on this tactic for law firms? Has your firm considered using online coupons as a lead generation tactic? Please share your thoughts with the group.
I think its an "interesting" idea. Why shouldn't the legal market be able to take advantage of the promotional opportunities that other markets have at their disposal. On the flip side, do folks feel that using online discounting tools such as Groupon, "lessen" the profession of law???