Suddenly, the idea that legal services can be auctioned off is in vogue. During the past month, three services have gone public with their plans to create Web-based auctions of legal talent, as though lawyers were pork bellies, car parts or the wireless spectrum.

The service eLawForum.com had a coming-out on the front of the second section of The Wall Street Journal. In the same article, law firm consultant Altman Weill revealed that it plans to launch iBidLaw.com. Finally, Examen Inc., a company that analyzes and reviews legal bills, launched LegalPath.com, yet another auction site.

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