Are Subscription Legal Plans really worthwhile?Wed Feb 10 2021. 5 min read
These days, it seems like you can get a subscription plan for almost anything. Websites like Amazon have subscription boxes for everything from food to Funko toys. There are makeup subscription plans, streaming content subscriptions…it’s pretty much a case of if you name it, there’s probably a subscription for it somewhere.
Legal services are no exception. Instead of the traditional model of paying a lawyer by the hour only when you need one, now there are companies that offer subscription legal plans, where you prepay or pay by the month for legal services. Is this a good idea, or is it something you should decide against?
What exactly are legal subscription plans? “Legal subscription services are an alternative fee arrangement where a client pays a flat monthly (or yearly) fee for a certain set of legal services. Sometimes these fee arrangements are referred to as keeping a lawyer “on retainer.” This fee structure provides clients with the flexibility to contact their attorney as needed, instead of being billed by the hour. A subscription for legal services works similarly to the other subscriptions you have in your life, such as Netflix.
You might find some parameters based on the package you choose. This could be a limit to the number of documents reviewed or certain excluded tasks (such as trademark work). However, generally, once you pay your monthly or yearly fee, you have the access you need to your business lawyer.”
Think of it as being similar to a home warranty plan. When you buy a house, you’ll start getting offers for home warranties. Generally, these companies charge an annual fee to cover a multitude of household repair issues, and then if something goes wrong – say your water heater breaks – you’re charged a co-pay and connected with a preferred vendor to fix the issue. You don’t have to come up with however many dollars on the spot to fix an unanticipated issue. It’s kind of like an insurance plan.
Legal subscriptions are similar. You’re prepaying for services that you may or may not need – but there are some definite advantages. The main one is – as mentioned in the homeowner warranty example – you don’t have to come up with a large amount of money with little to no warning. If you own a small or startup business, coming up with extra funds for unexpected legal work can be challenging. But by prepaying or having a subscription, at least some of that work is covered and you can anticipate what the set monthly cost is.
While it’s really up to you whether or not you invest in a legal subscription service, consider how much stress you might save yourself by having a subscription. It’s easier to pay a bill when you know how much it is every month!