Although startups are more commonly associated with innovations in tech, they can also bring promises of improving every day, non-technology focused undertakings. Even legal services are jumping in on the trend. Companies such as LegalZoom and QuickLegal offer innovation when it comes to what many consider to be an unnecessarily complex and attorney-saturated world of legal services. Clients see these ventures as an opportunity to more easily obtain legal services without the hassles and fees that come with hiring an attorney.
Just how safe and reliable are these legal services? Well, when looking at the recent news regarding QuickLegal, one may reconsider using startup legal services.
Derek Bluford, the CEO and founder of QuickLegal, recently agreed to a legal judgment being entered against him. Bluford had previously been named in a lawsuit and charged with impersonating an attorney, forging legal documents, and fraudulently swindling two clients. The settlement agreement calls for Bluford to pay $559,330 in damages.
The lawsuit paints an interesting picture of both Bluford and his legal services. According to the complaint, Bluford was fraudulent and deceitful for nearly one year, leading to a swindling of almost half a million dollars from clients. It is alleged that Bluford fraudulently misrepresented himself as an attorney and led clients to believe that he was acting in their best interests. Instead, Bluford manufactured court and government documents, wrote up fictitious court orders, and wholly fabricated claims and hearings in an effort to swindle clients out of money.
While Bluford settled the case against him, he has vociferously denied the veracity of these allegations against him.
This unique case of forgery and deceit serves to illustrate a point that the easier alternative is not the wiser alternative to avail oneself of. Although internet-based legal services startups do provide easier access to legal advice and even “legal services,” these internet based legal service companies come with a risk. While every lawyers has an ethical duty of care and must reasonably ensure the confidentiality and security of a client’s information, there is no such responsibility for a non-lawyer, even if he or she masquerades as a lawyer. Lawyers face serious professional and legal repercussions when they fail to meet their duty of care. Legal startups and its employees–many, if not all, of whom are not attorneys–do not have the same ethical obligations.
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The accessibility of technology has made it much easier to conduct white collar and cybercrimes. If you are charged with a white collar or cybercrime, you too have a right to an attorney and to legal defense. If charged, it is important that you see the legal advice and counsel of an experienced and skilled attorney. New York criminal defense attorney Stephan Jacob Siegel has the experience and knowledge necessary to help identify and develop for you the strongest legal defense possible. Schedule a consultation today by calling (718) 575-3900.