These Network of Independent Attorneys Terms of Service (“NIA Terms”) incorporate TTC Business Solutions’ Terms of Service (“TTC Terms”) as if more fully set forth herein. To the extent there is a conflict between the NIA Terms and the TTC Terms the NIA Terms shall control.
Participation in the TTC Business Solutions’ (“TTC”) Network of Independent Attorneys (“NIA”) is at TTC’s discretion in compliance with the all relevant statutes, rules, and opinions governing the same and is subject to TTC’s participation guidelines as outlined herein. TTC may change these guidelines at any time and TTC is the sole arbiter of the application of its guidelines.
In addition to the program guidelines, there may be additional terms applicable to categories of service or a specific service. We will let you know what those terms are when you sign up to offer a particular service, and you must agree to those terms before you can participate in such offers.
TTC and the NIA
1. Legal Service Provider: TTC is a legal service provider organized, operated, and compliant with the laws of the State of North Carolina and, specifically, H 436, SL 2016-60 as well as relevant provisions, opinions, and rules. TTC is NOT a Law Firm. We provide access to self-help legal services prepared at our customers’ specific direction as well as qualified independent attorneys through this NIA.
2. Not a Referral Program: This is NOT a Referral Program. We do not refer customers to specific lawyers or law firms. Rather, NIA members’ services are marketed by their inclusion in a panel of NIA providers for specific services sought by our customers. The decision as to who to select for their counsel remains exclusively with the customer.
3. Panel: Once NIA members sign up for specific services, their name, a brief biography, and TTC Rating will be added for the services to be provided. Ordering of the panel is randomly generated so as to avoid any inference that a specific attorney is favored over another.
4. TTC Rating: So as to guard against skewing of the system, the TTC rating algorithm is and remains a trade secret. However, in general attorneys participating in the NIA should be mindful of the following factors: (A) Timeliness (i.e., promptly accepting or declining work within TTC Terms, promptly completing work within service deadlines; (B) Quality of Work (i.e., quality of arguments, lack of typographical or grammatical errors); (C) Work Results (i.e., win / loss ratio); (D) Customer Satisfaction (i.e., overall customer satisfaction irrespective of win / loss); and (E) Ethical Business Practices. Nothing in the TTC Rating should be interpreted to interfere with the independence of counsel.
5. Pricing: TTC sets the pricing for legal services, and the prices consumers pay are subject to change. We will let you know before we change prices in a way that impacts the economics of a service offered by you (see “Price testing” below for an explanation of how we might change prices that buyers pay without changing your economics). Continuing to offer a service after being notified of a price change will indicate your agreement to the price change.
6. Price testing: TTC will occasionally do price testing of existing services, and we won’t usually be able to let you know when we’re doing that. However, you don’t need to worry about anything other than continuing to provide great service. When we do such testing, we will take any discounted amount out of the marketing fee we charge you. Thus, any discount to a service will be offset by a corresponding discount in the marketing fee associated with that service.
Your Obligations as Part of the NIA
7. YOU Provide the Services: Customers will be choosing YOU. Because of this, YOU – not a receptionist, secretary, paralegal or another lawyer in your office – must be the one who calls the customer. Buyers of services are paying customers. These are not intake/screening calls. YOU must be the one who calls back.
8. Turnaround and response times: It is critical to continued participation in this program that you meet or exceed all turnaround and response time expectations and/or otherwise arrange for a tim frame with your client once you have accepted representation thereof. In general, the following time frames are expected:
1 Business Day: Within 1 business day of being notified of being selected by a customer off of the panel you should notify us as to whether you will accept the matter or not. If so, you will also contact the customer via email and telephone to initiate your representation.
3 Business Days: Within 3 business days of accepting representation you should have a draft response or other pleading to the client for their review and approval unless otherwise agreed to with the customer.
Thereafter, filing of the purchased service and subsequent services shall be completed in the course and scope of your representation independent of these NIA Terms. Again, nothing herein shall be deemed to interfere with the independence of the counsel and his/or her ability to mutually agree a different time frame with the client.
9. Turning Customers Away: There are certainly valid reasons why you might choose to not fulfill a service for a buyer: a conflict of interest, lack of experience in a particular legal issue, too busy, etc. So, even after a consumer has chosen you and paid for a service, you can choose to turn it down and NOT fulfill the service. The buyer will be refunded or connected to another attorney of their choice. To turn down a service, email email@example.com with the customer name, service name, and your request to decline the service. Use this sparingly. You shouldn’t be offering services you don’t feel you can competently fulfill, and if you are swamped with work, you should put your services on “pause” by emailing us and letting us know. We want to delight buyers with the experience of buying legal services through TTC, and a huge part of that is them feeling comfortable that the attorney they chose will be the one who actually provides the service and will do so in an expedient and professional manner. Therefore, you shouldn’t turn down services too often, and if you do, we may remove you from the program.
10. Rating, Removal and Suspension: We can remove or suspend you from the program at any time at our discretion. Here’s a list of reasons why we might remove or suspend you, but it is by no means an exclusive list:
- Turning down too many legal service buyers
- Customer complaints
- Lengthy responses times (taking too long to call customers back)
- Not calling customers back at all (i.e. not getting paid because a phone call didn’t go through our system)
11. Email Messages: You agree to receive service-related email messages to the email address you provide during the enrollment process (or any email you provide in an update to your profile).
12. Ethical Compliance: YOU are responsible to make sure that your participation in our NIA program complies with your licensing authorities. In short, every effort has been made to ensure that the program does so comply. However, regulatory agencies may interpret the terms of this program differently. As such, to insure your ethical compliance with such rules you are responsible for reviewing the same and making sure they comply with your relevant regulatory agency or agencies.
13. Best Practices: Subject to number 4 above, best practices to keep compliant with your ethical obligations may include: (1) depositing all funds received from TTC into an authorized trust account if your licensing agency so requires; (2) maintaining absolute independence of the attorney and the professional judgment for your client apart from any involvement TTC may have had in your marketing efforts which led to the client selecting you as their attorney; (3) keeping the attorney-client privilege intact by excluding TTC from any and all communications between you and the customer / client and encouraging the customer against the same; (4) insuring that the client has given their informed consent to your relationship in the NIA and TTC by and through disclosing the nature of the relationship as well as the amount you receive for performing the services under the NIA agreement; and (5) maintaining not only malpractice insurance but directors and officer’s insurance to compensate for the cost of any ethics investigations typically not covered by an errors and omissions policy.
14. Monthly Payment: By the 5th of each month, you’ll get paid the amount buyers paid for your services fulfilled in the prior month, net of refunds and our marketing fee. You will ONLY get paid if the services purchased are provided. If you don’t perform the services within our service guarantees you won’t get paid, and you risk removal from the program.
15. TTC’s Marketing Fee: By the 5th of each month, we will bill you the per-service marketing fees associated with the services that you fulfilled in the prior month. Marketing fees vary by service, and will be indicated when you choose which services to offer.