Prepaid legal plans are offered by several different companies and marketed through employers, unions, credit card companies, and hawked on television. They are touted as a type of “insurance” to protect you from surprise legal expenses, but national prepaid legal services probably won’t save you a cent in legal fees.
First, pre-paid legal won’t help you if you are sued for an automobile accident, ski accident, dog bite or a number of other liability events – and you likely have defense coverage through insurance you already carry.
Second, most low-cost plans cover only a couple of phone consultations with attorneys that are probably neither in nor familiar with your jurisdiction. These attorneys will only respond with generalities before they refer you outside the call center to a specialist. To avoid obvious conflicts of interest, the best plans do not allow the lawyers who provide telephone consultations to handle cases to themselves so you will be passed off to an outside attorney who charges a normal hourly rate.
Third, beyond basic phone consultations, the discount you might receive for other legal services is often not any lower than you could negotiate if you called around to local attorneys on your own.
Because most people use a lawyer only a few times in their lives, subscription legal might be an expense you can do without. Don’t just take my word for it. Dave Ramsey doesn’t think they make sound financial sense for most people.
However, if you or your business find yourself regularly spending more than $1,500.00 each year on legal fees and want more predictability, consider entering into a direct subscription legal services agreement with your attorney rather than conglomerate of faceless telephone-only lawyers.
Such an agreement allows you to budget a flat monthly payment that includes a pre-determined number of consultations, correspondence written on your behalf, and/or contract reviews. The plan can be tailored for your specific needs. You get a set budget that covers all of your regular legal expenses. You can eliminate billing surprises. And the lawyer can count on automatic payment.
Contact Casey to discuss an arrangement that will work for you.