You know those TV ads about “the legal stuff?” The ones with the skinny jeans hipster who just wants to start their own craft organic artisanal Asscher-cut ice cube company? Except WOE unto them because lawyers? But cue the light, vaguely Snoopy-esque music, throw in a passing reference to “legal help” and, lo, $40 Ice Cubes, Inc. is born?
You are watching an ad for online legal services. Wills? Super easy. Corporate agreements? A breeze. Real estate? No problem. So much better than “traditional” lawyers.
Not so fast.
These ads are troubling, and not just because we’re traditional lawyers. The services offered are not actually legal services at all. Behold, the disclaimer of the ubiquitous one:
Communications are not protected “by the attorney-client privilege or as work product.” “We are not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. We cannot provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options, selection of forms or strategies.”
This is not “non-traditional” legal advice - - It’s not legal advice. A $69 Will sounds tempting, but what you actually get is either a too-standard form that only states who gets your stuff and your kids and may or may not hold up in court or – surprise! – the option to purchase a “bundle.” The bundle includes some basic essentials that the Will does not, like a Living Will, so you can provide instructions about life support and medical care and a Power of Attorney, so you can choose someone you trust to handle your affairs if you can’t. The bundle is not $69 anymore. Throw in access to an actual attorney, who you may never meet in person, and the price escalates further. By the time you’ve added all the necessary services to your cart, $69 is looking rather small in the rear-view mirror.
Seeing the TV ads, one would be forgiven for mistaking these companies for legal service providers as the content is suggestive and the fine print is miniscule. But, at best, the bait and switch is strong in them. In reality, the cost of a problematic Will – or any other legal document – has the potential to vastly exceed that of one prepared by a professional who you know, trust, and can shake hands with.
MCCM does not do $69 legal work. MCCM fixes $69 legal work.
For assistance with your legal questions, please contact us to schedule a consultation.
This publication is intended as an information source for clients, prospective clients, and colleagues and constitutes attorney advertising. The content should not be considered legal advice and readers should not act upon information in this publication without individualized professional counsel.
McConville Considine Cooman & Morin, P.C. is a full service law firm based in Rochester, New York, providing high quality legal services to businesses and individuals since 1979. With over a dozen attorneys and a full paralegal support staff, the firm is well-positioned to right-size services tailored to each client. We are large enough to provide expertise in a broad range of practice areas, yet small enough to devote prompt, personal attention to our clients.
We represent a diverse range of clients located throughout New York State and New England. They include individuals, numerous manufacturing and service industry businesses, local governments, and health care professionals, provider groups, facilities and associations. We also serve as local counsel to out-of-state clients and their attorneys who have litigation pending in Western New York courts. For more information, please contact us at 585.546.2500.