2015 marks the 4th year L4SB has been in business, and we’ve learned a few things in those four years.
We’ve learned a lot about our clients, and we’ve learned that the legal market is changing rapidly.
We’ve learned that people would rather not pick up the phone and talk to an attorney. They are either too busy for that, or too concerned about receiving an exorbitant legal bill. Therefore, we are working on a solution.
The Emergence of Technology in Law
People want legal help without having to deal with talking to attorneys. Our new site makes that possible.
The Internet has forever changed, and continues to change, the practice of law (read more). Small business owners feel empowered to conduct their own research and perform light-weight legal tasks, such as drafting contracts. With the help of legalzoom.com, rocketlawyer.com and others, it’s never been easier for small business owners to form companies and find basic contracts and agreements.
The problem is, even something as relatively simple as creating an LLC requires careful answers to some pretty important questions. For example, should you be a manager-managed or member-managed LLC? Should your spouse be a member of the LLC? Should you tax yourself as a C-Corporation or S-Corporation? Legalzoom.com will tell you how its previous customers handled these questions, in the form of percentages. The problem is, even if 99.9% of previous customers answered “spouse is a member of the LLC,” that doesn’t mean you should become a lemming and answer the question the same way. Legalzoom.com simply cannot answer these questions, because (1) it doesn’t have attorneys on-staff answering customer questions, and (2) it would be illegal for legalzoom.com to do so.
Only attorneys can give real help and answers to specific legal questions.
The Downside of Not Getting True Legal Help
Unfortunately, approximately 15% or so of this firm’s revenue comes from “screwed up deals,” where a small business owner downloaded a form or contract from legalzoom.com or rocketlawyer, only to learn later that it was poorly drafted or not precisely written for their specific needs. The stories are truly horrific and heart-wrenching. We’ve worked hard to get our clients out of trouble when this happens, but the law is not kind to business owners in general, and business owners who don’t fully read and acknowledge what they are signing.
How We Plan to Become More Accessible
2015 marks a new year and we’re doing some great things to the firm, given what we’ve learned. In particular:
- A professional website that features our everyday, small business clients.
- We’re offering a wide-variety of flat-rate services designed to compete head-on with legalzoom.com, rocketlawyer.com and the rest. Similar price, but better service simply because lawyers are involved.
- Our website is ecommerce enabled, so small business owners can request and pay for services, without having to pick up the phone and talk to an attorney.
- An even more competitive flat-rate contract review offering, so small business leaders truly have NO EXCUSE for not getting an attorney to review a contract, before it’s signed. (learn more)
These changes haven’t been easy. We attorneys have many guidelines and rules to follow that constrain how we do business, how we advertise and promote ourselves, and how we interact with clients. These rules limit our ability to offer nationwide services, for example. Compare this to the e-commerce companies, like legalzoom.com or rocketlawer.com, who are not constrained or limited by professional rules of conduct.
We will continue to grow into a more user-friendly business, while maintaining our already sound legal services.
Interestingly, those same e-commerce companies have been growing like gangbusters (read more), because they are taking advantage of the Internet and its impact to the legal market. Now we are going to do the same, but because we’re limited by the professional rules of conduct, we will slowly expand to other states, as we partner up and work with other similar-minded law firms.
What we will always do, better than these e-commerce companies, is provide sound legal advice. Without monthly fees, yet integrated into our very service offerings.
What have you learned in 2014 and how are you incorporating what you’ve learned into your business for 2015?