This is my fourth article, in as many years, about the upcoming Group Legal Services Association (GLSA) annual educational conference and this spring’s event promises to be the most exciting by far. Not that the last three weren’t informative, but the GLSA is reinventing itself during this spring meeting. So the annual State of the Industry panel from last year has been expanded to include some new company representatives.
The GLSA mission only included legal plans or insurance, up until recently. Board President Matt Hahne, attorney at Boleman Law, comments on the expansion of the mission and membership.
“We need to improve on opening up the doors of GLSA to any and all organizations that are in the business of expanding the access to justice in this country. We need to build an organization designed to be a think tank for innovative legal services with the goal of providing access to justice, and marketing and encouraging the growth of legal plans in our country. The umbrella should be huge!”
ONE400’s CEO Allen Rodriguez explains that as a Board member of the GLSA, he sees the organization in three years as, “a leader in subscription-based legal services solutions. This will not only include traditional legal plans but also include technology-based solutions like artificial intelligence (AI) supported document automation, bots, limited scope automated solutions and more.”
This year’s panel will include the three large legal plans, LegalShield, ARAG, and Hyatt, but also Debt Cleanse and Chuong Bui of Counsel for Creators, an innovative law firm that is subscription-based. Chuong outlines, what he believes to be the most important changes within the legal industry, as follows.
“The profession must be willing to experiment with new business models and offerings. Legal help must be “productized” in a way that gives consumers a focused solution to a particular legal problem. Lawyers need to think beyond simply offering services and consider how their expertise can be leveraged in a variety of ways.
Beyond that, serious changes to various ethical rules must be considered. As of this writing, lawyers are completely forbidden from using many of the tools that other startups use to grow. For instance, they cannot raise capital from non-attorneys, which leaves the whole sector underinvested. This is a huge problem that throttles innovation.”
This area will be explored by all panelists, led by this year’s State of the Industry moderator, Allen Rodrigues who is also on the California State Bar Association’s Access Through Innovation of Legal Services task force.
One aspect of the GLSA that continue is the organization’s two different target markets—the attorneys that provide the legal services and the clients that those lawyers serve. The recent focus has been on attorneys and Jean Clauson of ARAG explains a few things attorneys can do to make more money on the ARAG network:
- Provide a great client service experience (resulting in referrals): We’ve found that attorneys with a really buttoned up client service process, in every facet of the client journey, do very well at ARAG.
- Setup your firm to manage volume business: The most successful firms on the ARAG network have a system to proficiently manage a large number of calls, emails, and cases. They also have systems in place to choose the cases they want, enter case information, conduct the intake meeting, and bill ARAG. It’s really about attorneys working smarter versus harder.
- Be intentional about the areas of law that you choose to provide legal services for with a legal plan. Some attorneys pick several areas of law on our network and then get frustrated when we send cases their way that they do not want. By only selecting the areas you wish to serve you will ensure that ARAG (and our plan members) are not contacting you regarding case types you don’t want to serve. This decreases the time and effort or you and your staff to communicate back and forth with a client you don’t want to represent.
As the GLSA expands, the hope is to create a campaign to promote legal plans to the American public as part of the solution to access to justice. In the years that I have worked with the GLSA, I see that the average American does not understand how they can access legal services without hiring a lawyer for each distinct issue.
If you are interested in hearing more from the State of the Industry Panel, participating in charting GLSA’s new course and learning more about how legal and subscription-based plans can help your practice, you can find the information on the Tampa Bay conference taking place on May 9th to 11th here. Registration is open now and there are limited Early Bird tickets available here.