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How mode.law Bridges The Gap Between Lawyers’ Value and Client Expectations

In some business circles, lawyers have earnt a bad reputation. Often portrayed as expensive, dishonest and self-interested – there’s plenty of jokes with a greedy lawyer forming the punchline. Like any generalisation, the actions of a minority have tarnished the majority, and shaking this reputation proves challenging to lawyers who are none of the above. So, where does the issue lie?

In today’s blog, mode.law Director Yule Guttenbeil explores the relationship between a lawyers’ value and a clients’ expectation, sharing how a mismatch of these can have a negative impact on the legal experience. Read on!

Why do lawyers get a bad rap?

The perception that lawyers are dishonest or self-interested often stems from a bad experience between client and lawyer. A bad experience between client and a lawyer often stems from a lack of communication between parties, and a failure to set expectations for the completion of the legal matter. More often than not, this will be a dispute over cost.

Lawyers often charge at an hourly rate based on their expertise, because their value lies in their time. However, tension can arise if a client feels they are not getting the most from their lawyer’s time. An example of this would be a lawyer charging $400 an hour in agreeance with a client. The client then must pay the lawyer $400 an hour regardless of the work the lawyer is undertaking for them during this time. The lawyer could be providing high-value expertise, or they could be emailing back-and-forth, asking simple administration questions and pasting answers into a document. Lawyers usually charge in these units of time because this is what their firm sells, but this ‘how-long-is-a-piece-of-string’ method of charging is terrible for providing a client with the clarity and control the desire. This results in tension.

How does mode.law navigate these tensions?

The above example is just one of the cost inefficiencies that mode.law’s legal platform aims to address. By automating the first draft of common legal documents on the mode.law platform, we make the back-and-forth administration process redundant. Read more about that here.

Another way that mode.law navigates potential bill shock is ensuring the lawyers we partner with charge on a fixed fee basis. Fixed fee pricing is when a lawyer quotes for a matter up front and honours that quote, even if that matter takes longer than anticipated. This pricing method encourages lawyers to quote accurately and provides clients with the clarity and the control they desire. All work that lawyers quote and charge for via mode.law is completed on this fixed fee basis. Our team believe this is the most appropriate way for lawyers to provide commercial legal services. Simply put, if you can’t control your costs, it’s not commercial.

Another common complaint working to tarnish the reputation of lawyers is that they’re are not accessible. Clients can’t reach lawyers when they need to, and then are charged a bomb for asking quick questions. Again, if a lawyer is providing high-level advice over the phone, the situation is different. But how does a client approach a lawyer to ask simple questions? mode.law’s chat function and consultation booking service aim to bridge this issue. If a client would like an answer to a general legal question, they can jump on the mode.law chat which remains free with a mode.law subscription. If a client requires high-level advice, wants to solve a problem or strategise a solution with the help of their lawyer, they can book and arrange a fixed fee consultation via mode.law’s ‘talk to a lawyer’ function. Booking a consultation this way guarantees that a lawyer is available at a time convenient to you.

In designing mode.law, our team looked at the above pain-points between lawyers and clients and it became our aim to come up with solutions to avoid them. We set out to create an environment where business professionals could get their legal work done with minimum risk, clarity around expectations and a clear sense that they are in the driver’s seat. The tools on mode.law offer simple solutions to a complex problem. They manage the expectation between businesses and their lawyers, and nobody comes off as the bad guy.

At mode.law we believe that no business owner should feel like they are being held over a barrel to get their legal work done. A client should be able to choose how and when to engage with a lawyer. Heck, if the mode.law platform serves their purposes well enough, they may not even need to engage one!

* mode.law empowers Australian businesses to thrive with pragmatic legal contracts and clear advise. From now 'til September 2020, we're offering your business free access to mode.law's library of essential business contracts to help you stay strong and make good decisions in turbulent times. We know you'll have lots of questions relating specifically to your business, so we're partnered with Clearpoint Legal to provide free legal guidance via mode.law's chat service. Clearpoint Legal are even discounting their fees for any paid legal work you might end up needing. mode.law and Clearpoint Legal hope that our support helps Australian businesses to get the advice they need throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Tell your friends. It's #ModeLaw #Goodlaw