For those needing a lawyer to take a quick look at a contract – or perhaps their smoking gun – Avvo has added photo sharing to its dial-a-lawyer service.
“Real-time photo share” is a new capability of the Avvo Advisor app that the Seattle company began offering last fall.
People can use the app or a browser to quickly arrange a call with a lawyer vetted by Avvo, which charges $39 for a 15-minute session. Avvo promises to have a lawyer call within 15 minutes and on average one calls in 8.
Now people can upload a photo of a document or the subject of a legal question, using the iOS version of the Avvo Advisor app. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, this could make the most of the 15-minute call.
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“We wanted to call it Snapchat originally but apparently that’s been taken up by some company down south,” Avvo founder and Chief Executive Mark Britton said.
But unlike images shared via Snapchat, images uploaded to Avvo won’t automatically disappear after they’ve been viewed.
The lawyer who responds will also have the option to save the image and start a file, because there’s a chance that lawyer might continue representing the person, Britton explained.
It’s a convenient service for consumers and small-business owners, particularly those with questions lawyers can answer quickly. But ultimately it’s designed to generate more referrals for lawyers, which is how Avvo makes its money.
The 9-year-old company started out building an online directory of lawyers but expanded into services, including a question and answer forum and the adviser app.
Britton said Avvo is now “growing at an extraordinary rate” and has more than 8 million customers visiting its site every month. It’s generating 500,000 contacts a month for lawyers and 200,000 lawyers now use Avvo as their marketing platform, he said.
Over the past year the company doubled its headcount and now has about 250 employees. Britton said it’s likely to outgrow its current offices, including headquarters in the International District, and will need to line up new space by the end of the year.
The photo-sharing feature works only with Avvo’s iOS app now, but the company plans to make it work with its online service within a few months. The adviser service is so far available in 18 states, including Washington, and handles nine legal categories such as divorce, small business, family, immigration and criminal defense.