Upcounsel, a leading marketplace for legal services, has announced today that it will permanently shut its doors.
Just 2 years ago Upcounsel raised a $12 million Series B round, bringing its total aggregate funding to $26 million.
The below email was sent out to all Upcounsel members today:
LegalForce sued Upcounsel over fee splitting.
Avvo shut down its legal services in 2018 after it was acquired. Some speculated that the new corporate owner had no stomach to continue to fight for that portion of Avvo’s business model in the face of numerous state ethics opinions that found a wide variety of ethics problems with it.
The flat-fee service that Avvo offered through a network of lawyers required the lawyer to rebate a “marketing” fee to Avvo out of the fee that the lawyer received. Issues of fee-splitting with non-lawyers and other aspects of the model also troubled ethics boards.
It should be interesting to see if Upwork, the leading freelance platform, continues allows legal services.
The USA Herald was contacted by Raj Abhyanker and provided this quote:
I am substantial shareholder of UpCounsel, I am committed to ensuring that the UpCounsel.com community remains strong and regrows from a new foundation of trust. Unfortunately, the actions taken this week are the direct result of mismanagement and bad acts by co-founders Matthew Faustman and Mason Blake. I continue to believe that UpCounsel has a bright future ahead, and am working to recapitalize the business on a footing for success without Faustman and Blake’s involvement.