Legal subscription plans can be just what small law firms need to survive the pandemic. Lawyers have already tried everything to make their law firms appealing to prospective clients, from using picturesque backgrounds during Zoom meetings to reopening for in-person consultations while keeping bottles of hand sanitizer prominently displayed. Still, there is no escaping the fact that legal services are expensive. Accepting payment through a monthly subscription model could enable you to provide services to your clients at an affordable price. Working out the details of legal subscription services takes some research, though, and perhaps some trial and error, but you can find a way to offer the legal subscription services that best meet your needs and those of your clients.
Most law firms charge individual clients and small businesses by the hour, but the idea of paying $100 per hour for anything is scary for someone operating on an individual or small business budget. People may be less intimidated to hire a lawyer if they can pay through a monthly subscription as they do for Netflix or gym memberships. People are used to the fact that they pay the same amount in the months when they stream five episodes as they do in the months when they stream 100 episodes, and this payment model could work for law firms, too.
With legal subscription services, the client pays by the month and gets unlimited phone conversations and email exchanges with you, as well as a reasonable number of pages of legal documents drafted. If the monthly payment is low enough, the client will not mind paying to retain your services during months when they do not need very much of your help. If you have enough subscription clients, then you will be able to pace yourself based on when each one’s case keeps you the busiest. It can work out for everyone.
Imagine that you are a divorce lawyer, and a client comes to you because his wife just had him served with divorce papers. He has only one month to file a response to the petition, but then there is some downtime until the court schedules mediation. The client might balk at the idea of having to pay hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars this month. It would be easier for him to space out the payments through a predictable monthly fee, especially since he knows he will need your help again several times before his divorce becomes final and the dust settles.
What if your legal subscription offer is so appealing that you get a flurry of new clients, and the only way to meet all the deadlines for their cases is to pull an all-nighter several times per week like you used to do in your first year of law school? In this case, the solution is to set limits on the amount of work a subscription includes. For example, you can specify in the subscription plan that additional charges will apply in months where the client needs you to draft more than X pages of official documents or needs more than X hours of Zoom meetings.
Of course, the optimist says that if demand is high and the clients keep paying, even when you charge them the additional fees, you should simply grow your law firm. Legal subscription services might make it feasible for you to hire additional lawyers or paralegals.
The fact that you still get a reliable payment even when clients do not need much of your time is one reason subscription plans are so desirable for law firms. When you have multiple subscription clients, you can budget your time so that, when you do not have short deadlines, you can work on less time-sensitive tasks so you can avoid getting overwhelmed. If you really find yourself twiddling your thumbs, you can always take on additional clients, or else just enjoy the much-needed free time.
The best legal subscription plan is more than one option. Clients with simple cases can opt for a basic plan that gets them a smaller number of hours and pages, while clients whose cases will take more work can buy costlier plans that offer a bigger time commitment from your law firm. Clients can choose whether the best option for their budget is to buy the basic plan, paying additional fees in the rare event that they have a time-consuming task for you, or to buy the premium plan, where they are paying as though you will spend ample time on their case every month. Offering multiple subscription plans enables you to provide optimal service for a wider range of clients.
If you’re interested in learning how to create the best legal subscription services for your law firm, you can contact us. We can help you!