Folks often ask me if they should use online attorney services. Like every business, attorneys have to adjust to the internet in their business models. Lawyers are professionals, not regular businesses, but to ignore the impact of the internet on our profession would be more than risky, especially in the areas of marketing and service delivery.
The internet is not a “bad” place and should not be shunned as a legitimate platform for business, even professional businesses. It has vastly changed our profession and how we practice on a day to day basis. The marketplace has also spoken (and is speaking daily) on how it wants goods and services delivered as we see the decline of malls, big-box stores and “mom - n – pop” businesses. Again, if our venerable profession ignores these trends, we do so at our peril.
Now, keep in mind what services are being sold by attorneys. If your on-line ordered pants do not fit, you jump back online and the retailer sends you a post-paid return package and the right size pants. However, if your on-line will is not correct because of some obscure question of law, some old and outdated, but valid, point of property law, or your failure to understand that your beneficiary designation on your 401K or life insurance policy overrides your perfectly valid Last Will and Testament … there are NO returns or credits! This fact will not be known until you are dead and gone. Your estate plan is wrecked and your ex-spouse may walk away with the lion’s share of your estate. The last on-line will we litigated ran the client over $250,000 in attorneys’ fees. With all of the warring factions and two felony criminal indictments, we eventually ceased representing the client and unfortunately the case was not yet resolved. How much did that on-line will save them?
The truth is that when you have personal questions on potentially complicated matters that will drastically impact your family’s future, you want and need someone to give you their full, undivided attention. You need them to think outside of the box and that is the one trait that an on-line system will never be able to do. By definition, it has limited capacity to analyze; it is in a box – your life is not. The same logic holds true for business set-ups. No business is exactly like any other, and the advice you need to establish them properly will vary accordingly. The computer algorithm will not cover every contingency.
On-line forms are just that also … forms. Your business needs are very likely not represented by the “form” and you need someone to let you know if it is not. It may be fine … but then again … How much are you willing to gamble on your business? I like to say: “It is not a problem until it is a problem, and then it is a problem.” Overly simplistic? – Yes! Incredibly accurate? – Equally Yes!
These are big decisions. These are important events in your financial and personal life. Who is in your corner? What questions are being asked and answered? Are they the right ones? Are they all of the ones that need asking? Not all questions can be can be answered by “yes or no“ or better yet a “1 or 0”. See my point? Let your trusted legal advisor help you. If you do not have one, let me introduce you to one. If you are not satisfied with what our team tells you, then I will gladly refer you to someone outside the Firm. It is so important to me that I will tell you, “If you do not let The McIntosh Law Firm help you, get someone else to help you.” I will make that referral if you want. That is my promise to you … your well-being is that important to me.
Author: Bob McIntosh, Founder and Attorney
The McIntosh Law Firm, P.C.