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I often get asked about what I’m doing these days, what I’m working on. As you might imagine, BernieSez comes up pretty frequently. And as you also might imagine, I use the opportunity to talk it up a bunch, take advantage of a captive audience and do some promotion. And while I dig laying bare the way BernieSez works from start to finish, I really wish there were a way to make the explanation fit into one easy bag. If I could just say “Oh, BernieSez? It’s like eBay for tickets!” or “BernieSez? It’s like AngiesList!” Or “BernieSez is a lawyer referral site”, it would make it so much easier to tell the story (and make it a shorter one at that!). Believe me, I’ve tried; it just doesn’t work. Have a look at this:

 

So…What IS it?

Q: Is it an auction site for traffic tickets? (Focusing on the auction part) 
A: Auction? Well, yes and no. In part I guess BernieSez is an auction site, and it’s like eBay even, but not completely so. You see at BernieSez, although the object is that folks with traffic tickets and misdemeanor criminal cases upload their cases and receive bids from lawyers, it’s not exactly bidding. On eBay, where there’s an auction, everybody sees what the current bid is for an item. If you want it, you bid higher. The high bid wins and that’s it. On BernieSez, however, the lawyers “offer” their services in a closed-bid fashion. The lawyers don’t see the other lawyers’ offers and they don’t know who the other bidding lawyers are (only the client knows that and can see it from his “side” of the app). In that sense then, it’s really not an auction site, just a place where folks go to get price quotes from multiple lawyers. The low bid doesn’t necessarily “win” because lawyers are selected based on many factors other than just price (like experience, or rating, or length of time in practice, etc).
Q: Is it an auction site for traffic tickets? (focusing on the traffic tickets part)
A: Traffic tickets? Well, yes of course BernieSez handles traffic tickets, but not ONLY traffic tickets. BernieSez can handle any kind of traffic or misdemeanor criminal case from not wearing a seatbelt (traffic) to DUI (also traffic) to larceny, possession of marijuana, trespassing, and anything else you can think of. You see, the idea is that any case in which the cop gives you a ticket or citation and tells you you gotta go to court, is a case that’s good for BernieSez. That’s because most of what is important about those types of cases can be seen on the ticket itself. So then to tell the lawyers all about it, all you really have to do is take a pic and upload it to the site. The old one picture is worth a thousand words thing. But it’s not just traffic tickets, it’s anything that the cop charges you with (weed, trespass, fighting, underage drinking etc etc)
Q: Is it a lawyer referral site?
A: Referrals? Well no, not exactly. You see, referral sites are sites that tell you where to go. For folks looking for lawyers, a referral site would work like this: You put in a little bit of info about your case and then, voila! the site spits out the names and phones of a bunch of lawyers who pay to be on the site and want to get your business. Then it’s YOUR job to go make the phone calls and figure out which one is for you. BernieSez is different. At BernieSez, it really works the other way around. Here, you tell your story one time and then the lawyers find YOU and tell you what they can do to help and how much it will cost. Main difference? At BernieSez, it’s the attorneys who have to do the looking and the asking, not YOU. 
Q: Well, what about PayPal and Lawpay and AngiesList? Is BernieSez kinda like that?
A: No not really. BernieSez incorporates some features that are similar in function to these other sites, but these things are not the whole goal of BernieSez. The way BernieSez uses these features is really as icing on the cake to make the transaction between the lawyers and folks who need them go smoothly. Like PayPal. To make it easy, on BernieSez, after you select your lawyer from the ones who give you offers to help you on your case, you are given a whole bunch of ways that you can pay the lawyer. With PayPal and LawPay, you never even have to step away from your laptop; just whip out the old plastic. Totally convenient! Does the lawyer have another preference? There it is, right on the payment screen. Does he prefer a check mailed to his office? Great! You can do that too! As for the likeness to Angie’sList, yes BernieSez also has a ratings function. When all is said and done, you can tell the rest of the BernieSez community what you think about your lawyer. Good guy? Let them know! This information will make the next guy in line better able to make a good decision. 
So you see, BernieSez is not just one thing, and doesn’t really fit into one description so easily. It’s not exactly an auction site and not exactly a referral site. It’s not a ratings site and it’s not just a way to make payments to lawyers. It’s ALL of these things. The way I like to describe it is this: BernieSez is a way to cut down on the “transactional costs” of finding and dealing with lawyers to handle your traffic or criminal case. Describe your case ONCE (maybe a pic is all you need!). Let the lawyers come to YOU! Look at what they have to say and compare them and their prices all on your iPhone, Droid, or web. When you find the right fit, click to pay! And when all is said and done, tell the world he did a great job! Add it all up and you just saved a bunch of time on the phone, and a bunch of time running around trying to get it all done (and you may just have saved yourself a few bucks in the process!). And that, my friend, is what BernieSez does!