At his Illinois Trial Practice blog, Evan Schaeffer links to the Miller and Zois Attorney Help Center. The Help Center makes available, online, sample pleadings, motions and discovery materials for personal injury cases in Maryland, though many might potentially serve as a model for other states as well (though don’t forget to check applicable state laws and local court rules to make sure). I’d actually come across this site several weeks ago and used one of the pleadings as a loose model, so I can attest first-hand to the utility of the site.
What’s in it for the firm, you might wonder, to “give away the milk for
free,” so to speak. First of all, the attorneys who make use of this
site are more likely to be newer attorneys (after all, why else would
they need to find a sample to begin with?). And newer attorneys will
probably attract clients with smaller or more difficult cases that
probably do not interest Miller & Zois anyway. Second, newer
attorneys (or non-PI attorneys) do manage to reel in a client with a
large PI matter and can’t handle the case, they’ll be far more likely
to refer the case to Miller & Zois because they’ll have an
opportunity to review some of its work.
When I started my firm back in 1993, lawyers were obsessed with not giving away anything for free. They’d write articles that consisted only of teasers or headlines, without any real substantive information. Blogging and the Internet has changed those attitudes by showing that lawyers who make real information available as a public service will get real benefits back many times over.