Ohio State Bar Association joins SBM and CloudLaw in online marketplace

The Ohio State Bar Association has joined the State Bar of Michigan and CloudLaw Inc. in the launch of an online legal platform that serves as a practical, credible and comprehensive resource to consumers who are looking for lawyers online. The site, www.zeekbeek.com, was originally created as a collaboration between the State Bar of Michigan and CloudLaw Inc.

The collaboration combines the bar associations' knowledge base and expertise with CloudLaw's site functionality and consumer-friendly interface, offering a product in the emerging online legal marketplace. Michigan's site went live in 2015 and has undergone several upgrades since its launch. The Ohio State Bar Association came on board with a soft launch in June, extending the number of lawyers listed in the service to more than 75,000, and making it the go-to resource for reliable consumer information about Michigan and Ohio lawyers. There is no charge for consumers to use the rich, convenient resource, which closely matches lawyer profiles to consumer queries using a transparent and comprehensive search function.

"The State Bar of Michigan is actively embracing the need for bar associations to collaborate and use technology and market-based research to develop new methods for advancing access to justice and professional excellence," SBM President Lori Buiteweg said. "We envision a full-service, consumer-friendly online resource that integrates all traditional bar association resources, including pro bono assistance, access to attorneys and reliable legal information. Another exciting feature of the vision is the seamless connection of users to related consumer resources, including the courts, the legal aid community and social services agencies."

In an unprecedented collaboration, the State Bar of Michigan and the Ohio State Bar Association have worked closely with CloudLaw to develop and refine the site and expect the product to continue to improve with the addition of new state bar partnerships, including soon-to-launch sites in Indiana and Illinois.

Lawyers who are members of collaborating bar associations can take advantage of free site features, including the ability to create a detailed site profile, online appointment scheduling and links to social media and existing websites. Flexible settings allow lawyers to control and personalize their online presence to suit their professional needs and accurately present themselves to consumers, resulting in more reliable matches. The new resource will also help lawyers who are looking for rich and credible information about lawyers in other states. CloudLaw offers a free law student directory on the same site.

"We are tremendously excited to announce the active participation of the State Bar of Michigan and the Ohio State Bar Association," CloudLaw CEO Robert Aicher said. "We are now preparing to integrate Indiana and Illinois, and working toward bringing several additional bar associations on board, to accomplish our goal of building a robust nationwide network that will permit consumers and lawyers to easily find one another in a single credible and ethically compliant online environment."