Several well-known law firms have signed up to Oratto, the latest ‘find a lawyer’ website to hit the market.
Manchester firms JMW, Berg and Pannone Corporate, Liverpool’s Jackson Canter, Sheffield-based Simpson Sissons & Brooke, and Peterborough-based Buckles are among 21 practices that have signed up to the site, which puts a focus on matching potential clients to specific lawyers, rather than firms.
All referred cases are screened by an initial contact centre that is being set up in Chichester. There are no upfront charges but Oratto takes 10% of the fee for cases accepted through the site.
Users are able to access wiki-like resources on a wide range of legal matters, alongside which the best-matching lawyers – based on their experience – are displayed. Each lawyer is given an Oratto ‘rating’, calculated by an algorithm on the basis of the information provided by the lawyer in their profile; the more comprehensive the profile, the higher the rating will be.
Users can browse individuals according to their rating, as well as other factors such as location, area of expertise, and experience.
There are three levels of lawyers listed on the site – a member, a premium member and a contributor member.
Lawyers upgrade to premium by displaying their Oratto rating badge against their profile on their own firm’s website, although it does not affect their rating. They can then move up to contributor by providing blogs and articles for Oratto. In return, contributors qualify to receive cases from Oratto where a user asks the company to match or recommend a particular lawyer, rather than going direct through the comparison feature.
Oratto is the brainchild of Kevin Nessling, who also runs digital marketing agency Born Thinking, which operates mainly in the legal and financial services sector; Thompsons Scotland is among his current clients.
In 2003 he created personal injury claims management company You Claim, which he sold to panel solicitors in 2007 and is now run by JMW. Personal injury is one area that Oratto would not be covering, Mr Nessling said.
He said Oratto provided “control, choice, and transparency to consumers in an industry whose notorious aversion to technology hasn’t yet made this possible”
Joy Kingsley, senior partner of JMW, said: “We have been approached many times about getting involved with other websites, but we have chosen Oratto as we think they have an excellent understanding of how law firms work and good technical knowledge.”