, a free, interactive reverse auction website that creates a marketplace where individuals and businesses can find and hire lawyers at fees expected to be far below existing rates has been launched by New York Law School student Robert Grant Niznik, the company’s CEO. The site also promises to help lawyers hurt by the recession to increase their business by connecting them with new clients.

Shpoonkle is designed to create a marketplace where legal fees will fall to rates well below the $284 per hour national average calculated by, a division of Martindale-Hubble. “Paying nearly $300 an hour for a lawyer is beyond the reach of most people in need of legal assistance,” said Niznik. “Shpoonkle will drive down legal costs because people can select the lowest bid submitted by our member lawyers.”

One week before its official launch date, the site generated so much interest in legal blogs and an article in the ABA Journal that over 300 lawyers and scores of prospective clients have already registered to exchange services, Niznik said.

Shpoonkle works by having lawyers and law firms place bids on requests for legal work posted by potential clients. In standard auctions people bid against one another, forcing prices up so that the highest bid wins. But in reverse auctions, prices are driven down by individuals bidding to win at the lowest price. For example, a person needing a legal document, such as a contract or a will, can fill out an online questionnaire and post it on Interested lawyers then place bids by specifying the lowest fee they would charge for that service.

When the auction ends—usually with the lowest bid accepted, although other factors may be considered—the client and lawyer can discuss case specifics offline. Throughout the process, users can perform due diligence on the site by researching member lawyers through links to their law firms and respective State Bar associations, as well as through information found in Shpoonkle’s online library.

“ levels the playing field by giving the average person the same access to lawyers as wealthy people,” said Niznik. “Whether it’s drawing a simple contract, writing a letter or even making a phone call to a creditor, there’s a real everyday need for affordable legal assistance.” He added that Shpoonkle also provides a safe place for like-minded individuals to discuss legal issues through question and answer forums.

So that as many people as possible can benefit from, it has been translated into Russian, French, Italian, Chinese, Spanish and German. Visit or send e-mail to


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