by Michael Abdan, Esq.
Clients often find visiting a lawyer stressful, from gathering paperwork, navigating to the lawyer’s office, and finding a parking space — all typically during a short lunch break when their time is limited. But imagine the ease of having an Uber driver deliver clients right to your door. While Uber may cost $20 a ride, it may be worth the $4,500 retainer.
Do Uber guest rides offer attorneys the option of bringing their clients to them? What are the lawyer’s ethics to consider? Many states prohibit lawyers from providing Ubers to clients as it is deemed a form of subsidizing living expenses, which is against professional conduct. Check with your local and state bar associations to determine what is permitted in your state.
Uber for Lawyers: Convenient and Cashless
When your client is preoccupied with their case, they may find getting to court or visiting your office stressful, difficult due to injuries, or impossible with no vehicle available to them after an accident. Seamless rideshares can take some stress out of their legal journey.
You can use Uber for Business to transport your clients to a medical appointment or hearing if they are injured, unable to drive, don’t have a car, or if their vehicle is damaged from an accident. You could also include Uber in your initial consultation package. With Uber, you can order a car for your client with an app instead of waving down a taxi on the street, calling and waiting for a car service, or letting them drive.
For your client, this means:
- No navigating unfamiliar city streets.
- Less stress.
- No need to carry cash.
- No need to look for parking (and pay for that, too).
- Convenience and ease of use.
- Confidence they are well taken care of (building trust for you and your firm).
For you, this means:
- You don’t have to travel to your client, as they come to you.
- You will have more time to devote to your clients.
- Money saved if you previously used chauffeured driver services.
- The rideshare app automates the process.
- Comfort in knowing you are providing top-tier service.
- Easy tracking of expenses saved in your legal software.
Confidentiality and Professionalism
While rideshare programs can save your firm considerable attorney transportation costs, there’s something to be said about hiring professional chauffeurs who understand the legal industry.
Whatever the situation, chauffeurs have an obligation to ensure what takes place inside or outside the vehicle remains confidential, whether trips to depositions, court, witness transportation, or delivery of evidence and other documents.
Using Uber for clients won’t provide the same level of discretion to your client, and they should be instructed to only conduct legal conversations in your office or the courtroom.
Safety and Insurance
Due to their concern for customer safety, Uber takes all measures necessary to ensure their customers travel safely and securely. Uber maintains commercial transportation insurance to cover all accidents, and drivers are subject to background checks and motor vehicle report (MVR) reviews.
When outsourcing rideshare transportation, law firms need not worry about the safety of their clients. That said, it doesn’t hurt to instruct your clients to verify the driver’s name and have the driver verify the client’s name. Clients should also choose safe pick-up and drop-off points, share their ride details (this is done in the app) and ensure seatbelts are properly used. If a client feels they are in danger, they should trust their gut and call 911.
Assisting Underserved Communities
Uber can help consumers access necessary legal services. With guest rides for clients, lawyers — especially those who specialize in personal injury, criminal defense, bankruptcy, and family law — can assist clients in lower-income areas without adequate
According to one study, Uber costs 40% less than taxis in NYC and arrives in half the time. Though Uber may not be the best option for clients who cannot afford it, a firm could partner with a legal aid organization to sponsor ridesharing. Apart from giving back to the community, it can generate good PR for your firm while helping underserved communities.
Can Uber Guest Rides Help Attorneys Transport Clients?
Attorneys spend considerable time driving between client meetings, hearings, depositions, and other court proceedings. Therefore, they lose a lot of revenue while juggling traffic and locating parking spots.
By taking advantage of services like Uber for Business, lawyers can spend their time and money more productively. For attorneys, Uber could keep them more focused on their client work.
So what can you do to alleviate mental, emotional, and financial stress for your clients and anticipate the challenges they face? As customers ourselves, we know the value of convenience in terms of saved time, effort, and mental load every day.
Providing good customer service should be a priority at any law firm. That’s what we’ll see in the future — professional services enhanced by consumer experiences. When it comes to making clients feel cared for, the business cost for rideshares is negligible. With easy integration of such services, your client can worry less, and you save more time doing what matters most.
Michael Abdan is a Partner at CloudLex and a seasoned Litigation Attorney licensed in New York and Florida. Due to his depth of knowledge and experience in the personal injury field, he can connect with his peers and cultivate relationships. His business savvy has assisted hundreds of plaintiff personal injury law firms in modernizing their practices. A keen sense of entrepreneurship led Mike to leave the practice of law in order to pursue opportunities to transform the legal industry. A proud Gator, Mike completed his J.D. from the University of Florida, Levin College of Law, and his B.A. (Cum Laude) in Political Science from the University of Florida.