For years, medical professionals around the country have embraced the concept of concierge practices. Other professionals have slowly but surely followed suit. Lawyers are no different and a number of law offices in California have now added concierge practices to the list of their services.
How does it work?
Every law firm is different. One aspect of concierge lawyering involves better access to your lawyer. For many concierge lawyers, clients have the choice of meeting at the lawyer’s location, having an attorney come to their home or business, or conducting a video consultation. With lawyers available on weekends and after usual business hours, clients no longer have to miss work to meet with an attorney.
For certain areas of the law, clients can also sign both short term and long term retainers, allowing for a specified amount of legal work to be performed on an as-needed basis. In many ways, it is like having a part-time in-house lawyer.
What are the benefits?
Both clients and lawyers can benefit from concierge practices. Clients who opt to have a lawyer come to their home or place of business can save time and money. Just imagine if you no longer had to sit in traffic to consult a lawyer. In a concierge practice, the cost of travel is your lawyer’s business cost, not yours.
This is not the only benefit. As a client, it can be time consuming having to look for a lawyer every time you need a quick question answered. Often times, the result is that clients do not seek legal advice before making a potentially important decision. This is because it may be simply too difficult or time consuming to find an available lawyer and come in for a consultation. With a concierge lawyer, clients may be able to sign a one time retainer that makes their lawyer just a quick phone call away. Not only can this approach save time and money, but it can easily result in a more positive client experience.
Lawyers also benefit from setting a concierge practice. Some firms may be able to maintain a smaller office if they provide most of their consultations off-site. In turn, any decrease in overhead costs can mean additional savings for the firm’s clients. Short term and long term retainers can also provide a steady source of income in a field where lawyers are plentiful and clients sparse.
Are there drawbacks?
Everything has its pluses and minuses. Employing a concierge legal practice is no different. The legal field is strongly bound in tradition. Clients are used to being wowed when walking into an impressive top story office in a high-rise building. A lawyer who does “house calls” may not provide the same wow factor.
For lawyers, the thought of starting a concierge practice can also be off-putting. For one, the schedule of a concierge practice can seriously impact a lawyer’s personal life. Similarly, in a field where the work needed on a particular case can be unpredictable, lawyers may be worried to name their price before having a chance hear the client’s question.
Some of these worries can be alleviated by carefully drafting the lawyer's short term and long term retainers. Lawyers may opt to limit the number and duration of the phone calls a client can make each month or limit the practice areas in which the lawyer provides concierge services. Lawyers should also consider limiting the number of clients they accept on a retainer basis to assure they have the time to provide the services their clients expect.
The bottom line?
For clients willing to look beyond the constraints of tradition, the benefits of a concierge legal practice likely outweigh any drawbacks. For lawyers, the relative sparsity of concierge practices suggests the opposite and for those who opt to provide such services, it takes careful planning and monitoring to make the practice a success. However, with a growing competition and client’s increased ability to find answers to their questions online, perhaps the legal field will soon begin to see more concierge practices starting up around the county.
At Holborn Law, together with an on-site legal practice, we have decided to include concierge services. Our attorneys are happy meet clients outside of usual business hours and on their own “turf.” If you would like to learn more about Holborn Law’s concierge practice, contact us at 1-844-HOLBORN and one of our attorneys will be happy to assist you.
Disclaimer: This post is meant for general informational purposes only, and it is not to be construed as legal advice. As with any laws, the information in this blog post may change at any time and may apply differently in different jurisdictions. The post may constitute Attorney Advertising as defined by the rules of professional responsibility of some jurisdictions. Holborn Law is based in Orange County and Riverside. The attorneys of Holborn Law APC are active members of the State Bar of California and licensed to practice law in California. All services relating to immigration and naturalization provided by Holborn Law APC are provided by active members of the State Bar of California or by a person under the supervision of an active member of the State Bar of California.