How Can Legal Costs Be Reduced?
After years of rising, attorneys are finally lowering their fees. With the rates becoming unaffordable for many people it is important to find other ways that can help reduce legal costs without cutting into profits too much and harm those who need them most:
In order to make prices more affordable for everyone while still making a profit attorneys have been forced in recent months to lower theirs. However, this won’t work with every lawyer as no one else would voluntarily take less money! Here are some ideas that could be put into place which will get rid of your worries about how you’re going to afford an expensive court case or incident such as these:
- Technology. The legal profession is slow to adopt technological change, but advancements are coming along. Most law offices have started using technology within their office that helps reduce costs and produce more consistent results for clients. These cost savings should help lower the prices in this industry even further!
- Offshoring. Large law firms are taking advantage of the global economy by outsourcing their less lucrative functions to countries with cheaper labor, such as India. This is a fantastic way for them to increase profits while also increasing efficiency and providing jobs in other parts of the world that need them desperately.
- Loan forgiveness. Some law schools are helping their graduates pay off their loans if they work for non-profit organizations or legal services. This is only available to the richer schools, but it could be expanded and should really be a standard option at all law schools.
- Increase legal services funding. Free or sliding scale legal services are in short supply and have been under attack by those who oppose lawsuits aimed at creating systemic change rather than simply representing one individual. Expanded legal services would protect the rights of people with lower incomes as well as relieve courts from having to assist pro se individuals before them.
- Limited representation. Some lawyers are now assisting their clients with the preparation of papers, but not representing them in court or before governmental agencies. This reduces the cost, but can also reduce legal assistance’s benefits to an individual client.
- Sliding scales. It is my honor and privilege to be a mentor for the Justice Bridge program. This non-profit in Massachusetts will work with clients who live at or below poverty level wages, which helps reduce their costs as well as provides training to new lawyers.
- National law firms. One of the barriers to more efficient, less expensive legal services is the absence of large law firms providing service primarily to individuals and small companies rather than corporations or rich people. This lack can be attributed in part two rules governing law firms; first, that they may only be owned by lawyers (which means they cannot get outside investors or raise money like other businesses), depriving them of resources necessary for investing systems and personnel which would drive efficiency.
- Online legal services. For the reasons that restrict the creation and growth of national law firms, Legal Zoom has grown to have more than 10 million subscribers. Rocket Lawyer is another pioneer in this field with a growing subscriber base. These two companies purport not to be providing legal services but instead linking their users to independent lawyers who are willing to follow Legal Zoom’s or Rocket Lawyers fee structure– which should lead them towards expanding less expensive service over time.
The good news is that there are many ways to make quality legal services more accessible. The bad news is, none of these methods will work alone and the legal profession needs to focus on implementing all changes necessary for this access.