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Acme Law Corp. has released an app called StandIn that allows lawyers to solicit the services of other lawyers in a geographical area to handle court appearances on their behalf. In this writer's opinion, this almost sounds like Uber for attorneys.
StandIn appears to merge the best aspects of hailing a cab and Craigslist in a single mobile application. Don't want to get to the city for that extension hearing? No problem.
The app seems a welcome addition for busy attorneys whose schedule precludes them from making an appearance -- or for those who would rather pay some other professional to handle trivial matters at the court.
What About Liability?
Both Uber and AirBnB have had their share of legal troubles as they were pioneers in the sharing economy. But the co-creator of the StandIn program doesn't seem to be at all worried about liability. "Every day across the US and Canada, lawyer retain other lawyers and paralegals to handle their matters on an agency basis," he said. He argued that the rules should not change just because one lawyer used an application to find another lawyer to act as his agent and argued that StandIn was akin to using the phone.
StandIn is essentially half a brokerage service, half Ebay. It has the trappings of an auction in that it allows lawyers to compete with each other in order to capture a bid. But unlike Ebay, the fee service charge is a fixed amount. In a format that is not unlike Waze, the technology will also allow subscribers to determine whether or not any other lawyers are in proximity to the courtroom. Lawyers will also be able to shop around based on price, experience, and specialty.
Not at SCOTUS
Although the StandIn app may turn out to be a hit amongst practicing attorneys at the trial court level, SCOTUS just recently issued a ban on line-standing. Looks like attorneys will have to do their own dirty work at the Supreme Court from now on.