Do you want to increase your firm’s revenues? Offer your clients an option to pay a low fixed-price for a year of legal advice via email. Your legal services in this case would be limited to answering quick questions in your areas of practice, not complex research or document review. It may sound counterintuitive to offer a whole year of service when you bill hourly, but this can attract a new client base that may not otherwise retain your services, such as new business startups that are cash-strapped.

How does this work?

Your client would pay you a retainer for a year’s worth of online legal support. You could set prices for different periods of time, such as $250 for a year or $150 for six months. Wouldn’t this necessitate a lot of work and research that you could normally bill hourly for? Not at all. Clients would most likely forget that you have arranged a service or might not have any questions. You may answer only one question per month for each client. If you are worried that a client may email you incessantly for your advice, you can set a maximum amount of questions that he can ask in a certain amount of time, like only one question a week.  Depending on which practice management application you use, this may be supported.

But aren’t there third party services where you could answer questions and get paid?

Yes. Websites like LawGuru and JustAnswers pay attorneys to answer state-specific questions about legal matters in their specialty. However, they only pay eighteen dollars per question. If you utilize these third-party sites, you would be paid for the work you do. If you offer online legal advice for a retainer, you are being paid for a service you may never have to complete.

How will offering this service increase your client base?

If you advertise this legal advice service, you will likely attract new clients. Secondly, these simple emailed questions will most likely turn into billable hours. What your client believes to be a question with a quick fix could necessitate more comprehensive representation such as court appearances or contracts which can really move the needle on your revenues.

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Dolores Obrien

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