Welcome to Legal Allsorts
What a success this has been! Three years ago, the Beagles launched their new money making venture to the world with a fanfare. LB Compare was set to be the definitive comparison site for legal services, amongst other things. They must have expected their forum user base to feed clients to advertisers, nothing wrong with that in principle, but where was the money in that? The idea was to get law firms to pay for a featured advert on their website, which would also allow them to publish fixed fee services. It was never clear whether there would also be some referring going on in the background. While law firms and lawyers are not allowed to tout for business themselves, there is nothing wrong with someone sending a forum poster a PM recommending a lawyer or firm. In fact, this had been happening all along, albeit unofficially.
Whatever the arrangement, it wasn’t the resounding success they expected and the operation was later rebranded as “Just Beagle”. Clearly this didn’t work any better, as can be seen from the attached correspondence. The documents speak for themselves, and their shares appear to have less value than a roll of toilet paper, if the attached letters are anything to go by.
One letter starts with the following:
I am sorry to have to write to you in this manner but unfortunately the company is in a situation whereby this month will be the last that we can pay wages due to our investment funding being exhausted.
We have a further letter saying:
In regard to your question about the company buying back your shares, since we have no money to pay salaries we do not have any to purchase shares. In any event that would not be the process, as provided for in the Articles of Association which requires you to offer the shares to existing shareholders to purchase. Given our trading position it would be unlikely that there is any current value to them.
Says it all really! One has to wonder where all the investor money went.
In the beginning
The internet allows everyone to have a voice. You can post on all sort of online communities and discussion platforms, including forums. Legal Beagles was the platform where we all used to post in order to help the consumer. Most of those who post up on this blog have been banned from Legal Beagles as stated on the Ban Club. Actually, saying that people have been banned is not entirely accurate. In the virtual world it’s not possible to ban an individual in the same way as in the real world, for example, from a pub. What gets banned is a user account and its associated email address, sometimes also an IP address. It is possible for an individual to have multiple user accounts and for a user account to be shared between two or more people. Both are likely to be against most forums’ rules, however, that doesn’t stop everyone and, in some cases, the admins themselves may set up such accounts, for example, a dedicated account to post news that can be used by anyone authorised to post under it.
In the case of anonymous forum users, it doesn’t really matter much whether your account gets banned as you can always set up another one, however, when you are known to the site owners and have worked with them for years, being banned is just like being sacked from a job, albeit without the financial loss. While we could all set up a new user account to go and post up what we think on Legal Beagles, it would be a pointless exercise. The account would be banned in no time and our posts removed. The Beagles don’t like their decisions and management style challenged. In fact, some people were banned for that precise reason. They won’t let us tell them what we think, express our ideas and our opinions. Some long-term contributors and personal friends of theirs were simply told not to contact them any more. End of story. Or was it? When all else fails, there’s always a PlanB, and that’s what we’re here for, to offer an opportunity for all those Beagles to have their say, express their opinions and share their experiences of Beagleland. No more, no less.
What makes a forum
A forum is nothing without its people, yet this is a fact that tends to be forgotten by their owners who often think they are above their members when in fact, without members, there would be no forum! Legal Beagles used to have a great community spirit where a number of regulars contributed and a variety of subjects were discussed.
Come 2013, all changed. The site was under new management so to speak after one of the owners decided to pursue a legal career full time, the other came on board and, between them, they changed the site completely. The changes were not all bad, previously the site wasn’t very well organised, threads were everywhere and you couldn’t find anything. The site had been left in the hands of an overworked admin who, let’s not forget, was also a volunteer, and, despite spending most of her time on the site, couldn’t do it all.
The New Management tidied up the site and made it more user-friendly so things were looking good. Sadly, they also started to micro-manage the site and their first step was to shut down all the private areas and working groups that had been set up over the years, leaving all those long-term members high and dry so to speak.