Fri, Apr. 15, 2005

Rating Services

CK - Washington.   A new German blog lets lawyers share their experiences with insurance carriers for legal services. Such companies sign up customers to cover the cost of legal advice and representation in certain practice areas, such as rental disputes or motor vehicle offenses. Members of a legal mailing list recently observed an upswing in failures of such carriers to provide coverage and decided to go public with their frustration. The RSV-Blog has a number of entries, with positive experiences and, mostly, less favorable impressions of certain dominant carriers.

In a way, consumers of legal services can look at the new blog as a rating service. Perhaps we will also see ratings of other providers, including courts? In that category, I nominate a few Amtsgerichte, courts of first instance, which excel in responsiveness to inquiries from abroad or adoption of technology that helps overcome effectively the barrier of the time difference between Germany and the United States, in alphabetical order: Düsseldorf, Ingolstadt, Wiesbaden.

And how about banking? Some banks accept that foreign laws may not match those in Germany and try to be accommodating so that, for instance, an American estate would receive income information in a timely fashion for the estate and inheritance tax returns. The Raiffeisenbank / Volksbank group provides outstanding service although it is considered a bank without international flair, for the average Joe. By constrast, some of the giants in German banking have friendly personnel hampered by rigid rules that turn many an American inheritance into an administrative nightmare.

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