We connect regular people who can’t afford market rate for attorneys with the affordable legal help they need.
If you, like the majority of people in the US, can’t afford an attorney at traditional market rates, Lowboknow is for you. Lowboknow allows you to quickly and easily connect with attorneys who are ready to provide targeted, affordable assistance for regular people who can’t afford $250+/hour. You can either hire an attorney to handle all aspects of your legal issue at a discounted rate, or you can pay for targeted assistance in the areas that will make the biggest impact in your particular case. Compare offers from different attorneys, and browse through these attorneys’ profiles, ratings and reviews to find an affordable attorney who is a good fit for you!
Lowboknow connects you to a largely untapped market of paying clients - regular people. The majority in the US can’t afford an attorney at traditional hourly rates, and yet can often afford to pay an amount that makes sense to you and your practice - especially when your practice is running below capacity. That’s where Lowboknow comes in - it enables you to quickly and easily connect with a huge market of clients that are willing to pay more affordable rates, with zero time and money wasted on marketing. Your practice will benefit, as will society, as you play an important role in increasing access to justice.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What’s Lowboknow, and how does it differ from Proboknow?Lowboknow is a platform that connects clients with attorneys committed to representing clients on a “low bono” basis. Low bono representation is not free; rather, it’s affordable. A substantial portion of the American population makes too much money to qualify for pro bono (free) legal help, but can’t afford standard legal fees; low bono representation is for them. It’s also for those who do qualify for pro bono help but can’t find an attorney who is willing to help for free. If you’re a client who’s discovered that you don’t qualify for free legal help on Proboknow, then don’t despair! You can search for an affordable attorney on Lowboknow. Likewise, if you’re a client who has qualified for free legal help on Proboknow, but do not have the time to wait for free legal assistance because your legal matter is particularly urgent, then you might also want to check out Lowboknow. After all, it is free to have your case listed on Lowboknow. You might be able to find an attorney who is unable to represent you for free, but is willing to take on your case for a discounted hourly fee, contingency fee, or just handle the most important part of your representation for an affordable fee.
Do I need to be located in Orange County, CA in order to use Lowboknow?In order to maximize the chances that clients can match with attorneys, Lowboknow is committed to focusing on one geographical area at a time - starting with Orange County, California. If you are an attorney, then you must practice in Orange County, California. But, if you are a client, then you can be located anywhere (e.g., out-of-county or out-of-state), so long as the legal help you're looking for is in Orange County, California.
What’s with the name - Why “Lowboknow”?The platform was named “Lowboknow” in order to reflect its commitment to facilitating clients’ access to low bono legal representation on the one hand, and attorneys’ knowledge of low bono opportunities, on the other. The result – a combination of the terms “low bono” and “know”.
Is Lowboknow a law firm or a lawyer referral service (i.e., an “LRS”)?No. Lowboknow is neither a law firm nor a lawyer referral service; we neither provide representation directly nor do we vouch for, or provide referrals to, specific attorneys. Lowboknow is merely a platform that allows for clients and attorneys to connect easily and efficiently.
Is Lowboknow free to use?Yes. Lowboknow is completely free for clients to use.
What sort of “affordable” rates can I expect from the attorneys listed on Lowboknow?Attorneys on Lowboknow are committed to providing either discounted hourly rates, contingency fee or fixed fee offers to Lowboknow clients. A contingency fee is a fee that is only paid if you receive a settlement or judgment, and it is a percentage of such judgment or settlement amount. Contingency fee arrangements are particularly common in cases involving personal injury. If not offering a contingency fee, attorneys on Lowboknow can offer either fixed fee or discounted hourly fees (meaning below market rate), but how far below market is up to each attorney. Fortunately, Lowboknow allows you to compare different offers from different attorneys, as well as to compare attorneys’ profiles, ratings, and testimonials, so that you can have a better idea of what constitutes a reasonable offer and which attorney might be the best fit for you.
Does Lowboknow guarantee a successful case outcome?No. Lowboknow makes no guarantees regarding case outcomes. Lowboknow does not provide representation and is in no position to make any assurances regarding representation. Lowboknow is merely a platform for connecting clients and attorneys. When hiring attorneys, you should personally interview them so that you can assess their qualifications and experience. Then, decide for yourself whether you are comfortable with them handling your matter. With Lowboknow, you are in the driver’s seat.
What is unbundled or limited scope service and how might it help me afford legal services?To make their services more affordable, attorneys on Lowboknow are encouraged to offer limited scope representation (variously known as discrete task representation, à la carte services, or unbundled services, among other similarly confusing names). With limited scope, attorneys offer targeted assistance instead of working on all parts of a case. This makes attorney services more affordable because an attorney is hired only for a specific task or set of tasks (such as a court appearance or to draft a specific document). You, the client, retain responsibility for the other parts. Because of the split responsibility, it’s especially important for both you and the attorney to clearly divide up who is responsible for what. With the tasks clearly assigned, limited scope is a great way to access attorney services when hiring an attorney for the entire case doesn’t make sense or isn’t feasible.
Contingency fee representation doesn’t seem to be “low bono.” Why do you allow contingency fee-based arrangements on Lowboknow?While contingency fee representation is not necessarily “discounted,” it is affordable in that a client’s lack of money would not constitute a barrier to accessing it. In that sense, contingency fee representation is aligned with Lowboknow’s focus on access to justice.
What’s Lowboknow, and how do I sign up for it?
Lowboknow is an online platform that connects clients with attorneys who are open to representing clients on a more affordable basis - either through a contingency fee, fixed fee, or discounted hourly fee arrangement across a breadth of practice areas. (Why should I do “low bono” representation?)
As an attorney, Lowboknow allows you to quickly and easily find paying clients with zero time and money spent on marketing. We take care of finding the clients and doing an effective basic intake, so that you can just log in to the platform, quickly search for interesting cases, and leave offers on those that look like a good fit for you. You can search for potential clients on your own time and terms, and customize new case alerts from the platform according to your practice area, geographical area, and alert frequency preferences.
Signing up is quick and easy. You must be an active member of the California State Bar, with no disciplinary issues. At the moment, Lowboknow is open only to those attorneys who are handling legal matters in Orange County, California, but we will be expanding throughout California in the near future. You can sign up here for a free trial.
What sort of rate qualifies as “low bono”? How much can I charge Lowboknow clients?
Lowboknow is meant to facilitate access to justice for people who can’t afford market rate legal services. With that said, we realize that affordability is relative to both to what particular clients can pay and to how much particular attorneys can afford to discount their services. For this reason, Lowboknow doesn’t set a cap on the fees charged by the attorneys on the platform, but does ask them to be committed to charging clients they receive from Lowboknow more affordable rates. Lowboknow allows for contingency fee, fixed fee and below-market hourly fee offers.
But discounting your services as an attorney isn’t the only way for you to accomplish making your services more affordable. Attorneys are encouraged to think creatively when it comes to pricing. You might charge a percentage of your usual hourly rate, but you can also offer flat-fee à la carte services that make the most impact in a client’s case, as opposed to providing full representation on every aspect of your client’s case (i.e. you can unbundle your services), thereby charging the client less, but not necessarily less for your time.
For guidance on creating pricing structures that work for both attorneys and clients (including an explanation of why the billable hour may not be particularly attractive for clients), please see the Justice Entrepreneur Project’s Pricing Toolkit.
Why should I do low bono representation?
There are two major and independently sufficient reasons to engage in low bono representation: (1) tapping an underserved market and (2) increasing access to justice.
Though not everyone can afford traditional attorney services, many people can afford to pay for some services. Historically, these people have been priced out of the market, as attorneys have typically offered all-or-nothing services so long as the client could afford to pay. By offering low bono services, whether by simply lowering your hourly rate or by trying alternative fee mechanisms, you can tap into this largely underserved market.
Furthermore, if you’re operating below capacity at your firm, charging below your hourly rate to engage a low bono client can still make financial sense, as one hour billed at $125 per hour is more than zero hours billed at $300 per hour. When you factor in providing services at which you excel and enjoy, low bono starts making even more sense, particularly with fixed fee legal work done rapidly owing to skill and procedural efficiency.
Add in the fact that with low bono and limited scope service, you can target your services to offer the ones that make the most money or are the most enjoyable for you, and low bono makes absolute financial sense for those who aren’t working flat full-time at their usual hourly rate and who wish to retain more clients. For example, in addition to your usual hourly services, you might offer a specific set of services, such as a family law request for order, an answer to a complaint, etc., for a set fee. These are both largely formulaic and can be done from one’s desk, so they’re time efficient and extremely helpful for the client.
And being helpful to the client leads to the next point. Offering low bono is increasing access to justice. There is a segment of the population that can afford usual attorney hourly rates. And there is a segment of the population that qualifies for free legal services. These two bookends of the legal spectrum are the minority of this country’s population. The people living between the two bookends-- between those who can afford traditional attorney services or who can get free services--have largely been ignored by both private practice attorneys and free legal services providers. By doing low bono representation, you are opening up access to justice for regular people.
Contingency fee representation doesn’t seem to be “low bono.” Why do you allow contingency fee-based arrangements on Lowboknow?
While contingency fee representation is not necessarily “discounted,” it is affordable in that a client’s lack of money would not constitute a barrier to accessing it. In that sense, contingency fee representation is aligned with Lowboknow’s focus on access to justice.
What’s limited scope or unbundled service, and does Lowboknow allow for it?
Attorneys on Lowboknow are encouraged to consider limited scope representation (variously known as discrete task representation, à la carte services, or unbundled services, among other similarly confusing names). With limited scope, instead of handling all parts of a case, the attorney and client agree from the outset which parts of the case the attorney will do, and which the client will do. Simple as that.
Of course, not every case works well with limited scope representation, and when it does work, the attorney and client need to be crystal clear on the scope of the agreement and the distribution of responsibilities. Where it’s difficult to break the work into discrete components, or where the attorney’s partial involvement would harm the client’s interests (e.g. complex tax issues), limited scope is not the right tool. But when it fits, consulting with the client, drafting a motion, performing legal research, or even representation at a single hearing can greatly advance a client’s case while keeping the scope of work within the attorney’s available time. For a list of best practices when using limited scope, see this guide by the Alberta Limited Legal Services Project.
If you’re new to limited scope, you may wish to check out PLI’s training on limited scope representation, along with their training on ethical issues in California pro bono representation. Both are free and come with stellar materials that are well worth reading.
In addition, Sue Talia has put together excellent limited scope risk management materials at http://www.unbundledlaw.org, including sample fee agreements/retainers (which you should use regardless of whether the case is pro bono or not, because the fee agreement/retainer spells out the scope of the representation).
Read more about how to leverage limited scope representation in order to do well for your practice while doing good for society.
How much does it cost for an attorney to sign up for Lowboknow?
Signing up is both free and totally risk-free, since we offer a free trial. If, after the trial, you feel like Lowboknow makes sense for you and your practice, then you can stay on the platform for a monthly subscription fee, with significant discounts if you pay for 6 months or a year up-front. With Lowboknow, there is no messy fee-splitting, or limits on how many clients you can accept. Our pricing structure is meant to simplify the process of finding new clients and to make low bono representation make financial sense for your law practice. Keep in mind that Lowboknow subscribers who pay for at least 6 months upfront qualify for heavy discounts from our Rewards program partners, such as 40% off of all LexisNexis online products (for solos and duos). So in theory, you could even save money by paying our subscription fee, in addition to receiving all the other benefits of subscribing to Lowboknow.
Let’s say I’m interested in making an offer to represent a client on a legal issue… What sort of options do I have - am I limited to making an hourly fee offer?
Lowboknow allows for several different fee arrangement offers: fixed fee, contingency fee, and hourly.
Attorneys are encouraged to think creatively when it comes to pricing. For example, you might charge a percentage of your usual hourly rate--maybe it’s a fee charged on a sliding scale based on the client’s income, or maybe you can offer flat-fee packages of particular discrete tasks or services (i.e. you can unbundle your services).
For guidance on creating pricing structures that work for both attorneys and clients (including an explanation of why the billable hour may not be particularly attractive for clients), please see the Justice Entrepreneur Project’s Pricing Toolkit .
How do I get ratings in the first place?
To start cultivating your ratings, consider taking a pro bono case or two on Proboknow. The ratings and testimonials that you receive on Proboknow will carry over to Lowboknow, and vice versa. Not only can you help a client who likely has no other options, but you can both gain experience and also gain testimonials that will help you market yourself for paying clients on Lowboknow.
How do I retain and bill the client?
With Lowboknow, you can retain and bill the client in your usual fashion. Lowboknow is a marketplace that connects clients and attorneys. Once that connection is made, you can retain and bill the client the same way you usually do. Of course, it’s suggested that you try alternative retainers and pricing structures .