Partner Spotlight: Unbundled Attorney

05/10/2017

This month, we’re proud to feature Dave Aarons, Co-founder and CEO of Unbundled Attorney.

Unbundled Attorney is a lead generation company that delivers premium, exclusive leads to family law, immigration, and estate planning attorneys across North America.

What inspired you to launch Unbundled Attorney?

For about a decade I worked in the legal access plan industry connecting people to attorneys throughout the United States. Even though their plan benefits would get them a 25% discount of the attorney’s typical fee, I found that the vast majority of people still couldn’t afford to pay the up front retainer. It was frustrating because it was my job to get these people help, and we could only accomplish this for a fraction of the clients.

Over time, however, we started to discover certain attorneys who seemed to be able to help almost all of the clients we sent them. If we sent 10 clients to one of the typical firms, they might be able to help 1 or 2 of them, but if we sent these same 10 clients to one of these other attorneys, they’d be able to help 8, 9, or even all 10 of them. So we asked ourselves, “What is it that these attorneys are doing that allows them to serve so many of these clients?”

The answer was that they were offering Unbundled Legal Services, which meant they were tailoring their services to fit the client’s specific legal needs and budget. It was at this point that we saw an opportunity to take a leading role in educating the public about the availability of Unbundled Legal Services, and then connecting them with compassionate attorneys all over North America that offered these services.

And that’s exactly what we’ve done since launching Unbundled Attorney in 2015. As a result, we’ve been able to provide attorneys with premium, educated leads that they can consistently convert into new paying clients, and at the same time we’ve been able to help a ton of families obtain legal services at a rate they can actually afford.

Tell us more about how unbundled legal services work.

Unbundled Legal Services is a way for attorneys to limit the scope of their involvement in a case down to specific agreed upon tasks, also known as “limited scope” representation. This enables attorneys to no longer have to turn away clients that cannot afford to pay a large up-front retainer, and as a result, positions their firm to be able to profitably serve a much greater pool of clientele.

We also see an emerging trend of technologically empowered attorneys who run highly efficient practices and can bring down the cost of services for clients, while still maintaining a high effective hourly rate. We encourage attorneys to take full advantage of online practice management software like Clio, a sales CRM like Lexicata (both of which we integrate into) as well as automated billing software like LawPay. These are tools that can help them streamline their workflows and operate a leaner, more cost-efficient practice.

This is especially critical in the current legal market. 40 years ago only 1% of filings in family court were by pro se litigants. Today that number is about 70%. That’s a monumental shift, and one of the underlying causes of this change is that the average lower and middle income family can no longer afford a $3-5000 retainer up front. Therefore, if attorneys can find ways to offer more affordable pricing options, they will unlock the ability to provide services to the vast majority of our current marketplace.

How are you raising awareness about unbundled legal services with attorneys?

One of the most effective ways we educate attorneys about how to deliver Unbundled Legal Services in their practice is through our podcast.

During each episode we interview attorneys we work with who offer Unbundled Services and discuss the services they offer, how much they they charge, when and how they deliver these services, and how well they are doing financially as as a result. Listening to a couple of our podcast episodes is a great way for attorneys to figure out if offering Unbundled Services is something they would like to integrate into their practice.

In addition, each time we bring a new attorney on board we take time to breakdown the different types of Unbundled options they could offer, how to explain these options to their clients, and the typical fees most of our attorneys charge. This way our attorneys have a clear and well-defined strategy on how to deliver affordable services to the leads we send them from day one.

And how are you raising awareness with the public?

On the public side, we’ve built out a comprehensive lead generation system that gets in front of people who are actively seeking an attorney, educates them about what Unbundled Legal Services are, and tells them how much they typically cost. This way, by the time we connect the clients to our attorneys, they already have a realistic expectation of what legal services are available and what they typically cost.

This makes it a lot easier for attorneys to enroll them for the level of service that best suits the client, and is one of the fundamental reasons why our attorneys have so much success at converting our leads into paying customers. We emphasize that Unbundled Legal Services is not a “cheap” legal option, and it’s certainly not free,— it’s simply a way for people who are in need of legal assistance to establish a relationship with an innovative and flexible attorney who is adapting their service options to the specific legal needs and budget of their clients.

You recommend LawPay to attorneys you work with. How do you think LawPay helps attorneys run their practices?

Today’s legal community is encountering a generation of clients who are very comfortable using smartphones to make purchases online, and who also use their devices to search for an attorney as well. It’s important for attorneys to respond to this consumer preference towards “mobile and digital” by offering electronic payment options in addition to cash and check. The reality is that the vast majority of people these days want to be able to click a button to pay for services quickly and securely from their mobile devices.

We are big fans of LawPay because it makes it so easy for attorneys to accept online payments. By offering a simple and secure way to pay, attorneys can immediately increase the number of clients who are able to engage with them. In addition, the ability to set clients up on an automated recurring payment plan has been a really helpful tool for attorneys to be able to offer a flexible payment solution that more clients can afford.

Attorneys can work with their clients to design a custom payment plan, and then schedule payments to automatically process according to that schedule. It’s a very powerful feature, and one of the reasons why we recommend LawPay to every new attorney that enrolls in our service.

For attorneys that would like to learn more about how they can use LawPay to increase the number of clients they can profitably serve, I’d suggest they check out a recent episode of our podcast entitled “Scaling Up Your Practice: How to Expand From Solo Practitioner to Small Law Firm in Under 3 Months” with Oklahoma City family law attorney, Rhonda Naidu.

During the interview she shares how there hasn’t been a single day when she didn’t have money being deposited into her account since she implemented LawPay’s automated billing feature. As we all know, cash flow is very important for every law firm, and having a steady, recurring stream of income can help eliminate some of the stress of managing the day to day operations of running a practice. It’s an excellent interview, and a clear testament to the impact of powering a firm with LawPay.