From Al Pacino’s character John Milton in The Devil’s Advocate, to Gene Hackman’s portrayal of Avery Tolar in The Firm, to Bob Odenkirk’s depiction of Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad … lawyers are the characters that we love to hate. Even Shakespeare himself once penned the line: “first, let’s kill all the lawyers.”
A recent Pew study determined that lawyers rank at the very bottom of all professions in terms of public esteem. Why does this hatred exist?
Jeff Bell, CEO of LegalShield, offers four reasons:
- Lawyers are smarter than us. “They go to four years of college and then three years of law school. Then they spend months studying to pass the bar examination. And sometimes all this education creates a barrier between lawyers and their clients. It may lead them to think that they know better than people who have succeeded by relying on their common sense.”
- Lawyers have their own language. “It’s called legalese, and it is the thing that causes you to get lost when reading contracts. Seriously, when was the last time you used ‘heretofore’ in a sentence?”
- Lawyers intimidate us. “They have fancy offices, with giant desks, wood-paneled conference rooms, and maroon leather chairs. They dress in fancy suits and drive fancy cars. To some people, this makes lawyers seem aloof and intimidating.”
- Lawyers are expensive. “They charge us every time we talk to them, often hundreds of dollars by the hour. The clock begins ticking whenever you speak to them or they do work for you. And even if you are on the phone with them for just five minutes, they almost never charge less than a 15-minute increment … and sometimes a 30-minute increment.”
The last of these, Bell explains, is the central problem. “The first three wouldn’t bother us nearly so much if it weren’t for the costs of interacting with lawyers. That is why LegalShield is so disruptive: we flip the traditional financial model for how people pay for lawyers.”
The Washington Post echoed these sentiments in a recent opinion piece entitled, “We don’t need fewer lawyers. We need cheaper ones.” The piece explains:
“What we are seeing is a disgraceful failure of our legal system to meet the serious legal needs of most Americans, who are increasingly priced out of the market for legal services. In 70 to 98 percent of cases in America’s civil courts today, one or both parties are not represented by a lawyer.”
To address this failure, LegalShield has disrupted the legal industry through the power of collaborative consumption. By enabling its members to access lawyers without worrying about the clock, LegalShield aligns both its provider law firms and its members around the same goal: finding a fast, efficient, and effective resolution to legal matters.
“This makes for happy lawyers as well as happy clients,” says Bell. “The clients are happy because they don’t have to worry about the running meter, and the lawyers are happy because they just show up and do the work that they want to do … practice law.”
Bell continues: “LegalShield’s disruptive business model has united 1.5 million households in North America to collectively pay for legal services for the entire group. When any individual member calls an attorney, they are treated the way that they should be: like the most important client at the firm.”
“And now, it’s not so bad to have all those smart, intimidating lawyers walking around speaking their own language … because they are working for you and you don’t have to worry about the clock!”