Getting Started with a Legal Insurance Network

Gaining Clients Through Legal Insurance Providers

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By Molly K. Anderson

When I graduated from law school and entered private practice, one of my first worries was how I would find clients. Where were the clients willing to take a chance on a brand-new attorney, and how would I find them?  I was a fresh associate at a three-attorney law firm and certainly felt the pressure to start bringing in my own clients. Of course, this pressure is common to all attorneys in private practice but can be especially difficult for attorneys working at a small firm.

Fortunately, I had excellent mentor attorneys who recommended I apply to serve as a network attorney for legal insurance providers. After I was accepted as a network attorney, it felt miraculous to immediately begin receiving referrals of potential clients who had legal insurance coverage and a wide variety of needs. At this early stage, I needed to build experience and learn which areas of law best suited my practice. As I handled various divorce, child custody, foreclosures and other types of cases, I gained an understanding of the type of work I liked best. My preferred practice area is estate planning and probate. Perhaps I would have come to this association on my own, but taking on such diverse cases when I began practicing really helped me understand the type of work I like best.

Over my 11 years of practice, my association with various legal insurance providers has been an incredible engine to grow business and clients. I have worked most closely with Des Moines-based legal insurance provider, ARAG, but the legal insurance industry is varied and has many players. Most legal insurance clients get their coverage as an employee benefit when they opt-in during open enrollment, but some legal insurance plans allow individuals to directly purchase individual legal insurance.

A Win-Win for Attorneys and Clients

I view legal insurance as one of the true win-win scenarios in our field. Looking first from the attorney perspective, working with clients who have legal insurance saves me time, avoids the issues associated with collecting fees and, most importantly, helps me find new clients. For potential clients who have coverage through a legal insurance provider, working within their network allows the client to save money, save time and have vastly improved access to the legal system.

For attorneys, anything that saves us time is compelling. I know if I get contacted by a client who has legal insurance, I can check his or her coverage and I know exactly which parts of the proposed legal work are covered, how many hours of coverage they have, what my hourly rate is if they go beyond the covered hours of attorney time, which expenses the client must pay out of pocket and which fees and expenses will be paid directly by the legal provider. Negotiating with a client over fees can be tedious and time-consuming. It is a relief dealing with legal insurance clients where the costs are clearly delineated and there are no surprises.

When a client with legal insurance has full coverage for the work they have hired me to complete, I know I will get paid. That peace of mind is wonderful! Once a case is complete, I bill the client through his or her legal provider and the client leaves my office feeling like they got a deal. Knowing that I do not have to collect the fees from the client in person, nor send a bill and potentially have to hassle the client to get paid, is so freeing and saves administrative labor. Even when a client only has a discount rather than full coverage for the legal work they desire, generally I still find the client to be appreciative of the savings they get from their insurance coverage.

A New Business Machine

The most important benefit I have found working with legal insurance clients is the chance to grow new business. If a client has a good experience with an attorney, they are likely to recommend the attorney’s services to their friends and co-workers. These personal referrals are especially critical when working with a client who has legal insurance because if they tell their co-workers they are happy with an attorney’s work, they are speaking to a group of people who all have or could obtain the same insurance and get the same benefits for themselves.

In many cases, legal insurance clients are younger and are generally less likely to obtain the services of an attorney. If you can establish a relationship with a client while they are young, you have the potential to build a long-term relationship with the client, even if they leave the job through which they obtained the legal insurance coverage. Additionally, many legal insurance providers are offering coverage plans that include dependents, parents, sometimes even grandparents, so when you assist one client with legal insurance and they are happy with your services, you have a great opportunity to gain new business.

Improving the Client Experience

From the client perspective, obtaining legal insurance is cost-effective and saves a great deal of time. If a client cannot get a personal referral from someone they trust, it can be overwhelming to find an attorney who is in the client’s geographic area and practices in the area they need. This has been especially true in recent years as more and more people are working remotely and may not live in a large population center. Often potential clients do not even know how to begin to obtain legal representation, and so, rather than wasting time and money, they may decide to do nothing or may even try to create their own legal documents. If they can find an attorney, often the price for the attorney’s time is so high the potential client declines to engage the attorney. With legal insurance, the barriers to entry are lowered and potential clients feel empowered to seek representation for cases where it can be difficult to find an attorney, such as landlord-tenant issues, small claims court actions or debt collection defense.

Finally, when a legal insurance client is happy with my assistance, I am often asked, “What else can I use this legal insurance for?” The client’s first interaction with an attorney can be a gateway to getting assistance with estate planning, selling a house, a name change or a modification to a custody or child support order. Once a client sees the benefit of legal insurance, they want to fix other issues that have been bothering them, but it did not seem “worthwhile” to hire an attorney. Lack of access to the legal system is a problem, and anything that helps improve access is a benefit to both clients and attorneys.

Getting associated with legal insurance providers was one of the best decisions I made as a young attorney. After a decade-plus of experience with various providers, my clients with legal insurance are an important part of my practice and I welcome the growth in the legal insurance industry.

Author Bio:

Molly K. Anderson is an attorney who lives and works in West Des Moines, Iowa. She has been a practicing attorney in Iowa since 2012. Molly is a partner and shareholder in Howes & Anderson, P.C., which has a general civil practice, but specializes in estate planning. Molly attended the University of Iowa for her undergraduate studies, then attended law school at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Outside of the office, Molly is kept busy by her Labrador Retriever, enjoys travel and both trying new restaurants and cooking new dishes.


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