The State Bar of California attempted to sue LegalMatch on May the 4th 2020, for violating attorney referral laws. In November 2019 the California appeals court in Jackson v. LegalMatch found that LegalMatch, a service that matches clients with lawyers was a lawyer referral service (“LRS”) under California Business and Professions Code § 6155.
After the court’s decision, LegalMatch continued to operate, without formal registration, with the Bar claiming that LegalMatch ignored cease and desist orders, until the company had proper registration, and suggested that the company did not adequately make it clear that the service was not certified to operate in California on social media. This lead to the Bar attempting to file a temporary restraining order on the 4th May 2020.
However, during the course of the case, it became clear that LegalMatch had already submitted an application, which the Bar had not yet acted upon, leading Judge Ethan Schulman to deny the claim.
The case raises further questions about ongoing attorney referral rules both in the State and across the country, especially given the ongoing push for reform in California.