Getting Started with a Legal Insurance Network

How Legal Insurance Provides Clients Access to Justice

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By Jeremy B. Hahn

I will be the first to admit when I became aware of legal insurance, I was a skeptic myself. What do you mean, “legal insurance?” How does that work? Having many more questions than answers, I was intrigued to learn more. Before I get to those answers, I should say I, like most attorneys, entered into this profession with many goals in mind, one of the most important was helping people. What I know now is legal insurance is a tremendous tool in order to do exactly that, help people. It also is a way to get people connected to attorneys. We in this profession often take for granted that many of our clients have never spoken to an attorney before, nor do they know what to expect when talking to one. Legal insurance is a good way to make a friendly introduction and help relieve some of the pressure and anxiety that is often present in our clients’ lives.

What areas of law does legal insurance cover?

While my practice areas involving legal insurance are predominately centered around family law and guardianship work, it is important to know that legal insurance is available for nearly every area of practice. In family law cases, I oftentimes am contacted by clients who are having a dispute with their significant other involving their children. Those conversations are often very emotional and one where a client may even be panicked because they do not want their parental rights to be interfered with. It is certainly not lost on me that some of these clients are otherwise unable to afford an attorney. Because of a benefit like ARAG and other legal insurance carriers, we are now connected with clients and able to be a voice for them in some of the most difficult moments of their lives.  

How does legal insurance help clients?

I will never forget when I took on a client on a dissolution action. She was petrified of the legal process. Her husband had recently served divorce paperwork and had thrown her property out on the front lawn. Cut off from her children, her home and no idea what she was supposed to do next, my client was frantic. Unfortunately, due to her husband’s actions at the time, she also was unable to access available joint funds to retain an attorney. She received my contact information through her legal plan, and she called in desperate need for assistance. I was quickly able to verify that she did in fact have coverage. Subsequently, I entered an appearance in her case and was able to immediately get in contact with the opposing counsel. In what at the time seemed like one of the lowest moments of her life, the availability of legal insurance helped her restore some semblance of normalcy. We then were able to work through the regular course of the dissolution case, ensuring she had access to marital funds, her children and her belongings. What started as an introduction during some extremely trying times has turned into a client relationship approaching five years. That was a case where I was able to accomplish one of most important goals in this profession, you guessed it…helping someone. 

People often take for granted how easy it is for people to not be aware of what their rights may be in legal matters. While I do not have a criminal law background, I often think of someone of a middle-class socioeconomic status. They may be told that they make too much money for a Public Defender of court-appointed counsel but have to choose between keeping the lights on at home or paying a hefty retainer fee for private counsel. This is a harrowing situation to find yourself in. With programs such as ARAG, we can help remove that stress for our clients. We can let them know that an attorney is able to advise them as to what their rights are and be sure they are able to appropriately and effectively navigate through the legal process.

How is AI changing the legal field?

I believe individuals in need of legal assistance are in a very unique time. We are seeing the rapid growth of AI within the industry. The legal industry is one of the most likely areas in which AI will continue to expand. AI tools are usually thought of as a way of “replacing lawyers,” but I am a firm believer in life that mutual exclusivity is rare. This situation is no different. New technology such as AI does not have to serve as a replacement, but it could be a connecting tool. While a large part of our industry remains referral based, I would wager that the next most likely way in which attorneys are found is through search engines such as Google. While this can be helpful, it also can be a lot for a potential client to sift through. Oftentimes, firms will pay to appear towards the top of the search engine through advertisement investment, but that firm may not be offering the services the individual is seeking. I am going to ask you to put down your arms and think about attorney websites and domains in a non-traditional sense. With the help of AI, we could adapt our websites as unique profiles that indicate what areas of practice you may do, and more importantly whether you are currently taking on new clients. You could also set filters as to whether you accept legal insurance. 

With the assistance of an AI prompt, an individual might be immediately able to narrow down: 

1) which attorneys in the area do this type of work,
2) are they taking new clients and are they available to help me and
3) miscellaneous questions, such as does this attorney accept legal insurance? 

This could help increase the efficiency for people needing assistance, so they do not have to make numerous phone calls seeking attorney availability. This would also help increase the efficiency on our side as well. How often is your staff fielding calls for areas of law in which you do not practice? How often are you or your staff letting individuals know that you are not accepting new appointments, or you are scheduled out for multiple weeks? This is time that you would be able to recapture and ultimately dedicate to your clients. 

I don’t know what the future holds, but what I do know is nearly every attorney I speak to says they are busier than they could have imagined. Efficiency will never be perfected. It is something that I encourage my colleagues to remember as we are heading into what is likely to be a rapidly changing next few years. We may be on different sides of a case or transaction, but we can all agree that ensuring everyone has a path and access to justice is at the core of our industry and something everyone should be entitled to. That concept is one that has not and will not change.


Author Bio:

Jeremy B. Hahn is an attorney who practices in Independence, Iowa. He has been a practicing attorney since 2016. He is a partner and shareholder of Roberts & Eddy, P.C., which is a general practice law firm. His areas of practice are focused on family law, civil litigation, guardianship and conservatorships. Outside of practice, Jeremy spends every minute he can with his daughters, Quinn and Camryn, son, Beckham, and his wife, Mariah.


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