Recently, I was in the market for protein bars. I visited several different markets in the search for the perfect protein bar, both price-wise and nutritional value. Not being happy with any of the products I ran into, I decided to take my search online. After some time searching, I ended up purchasing a protein bar I had seen in person, considering it was the exact same product and it was actually cheaper online! Shopping for physical products in-person and online is great for various reasons. Typically, the products you run into online are the same products you can find in stores; finding a product online is oftentimes helpful because one can read reviews of previous buyers; and sometimes, as was the case with my protein bar search, products might even be cheaper online. Keeping this logic in mind, one might think it is a great idea to shop for legal services online! But, that is not the case – shopping for legal services is not the same as shopping for physical products.
How should we be shopping?
You see, legal services are unique and should be tailored to each specific case. While the perfect protein bar is high in nutritional value but low in price, attorneys are different. A good attorney must take into account not only the law, but also their client’s specific needs. That is why it is important to take more than price into account when shopping for legal services. The reason is that when paying for legal services, one gets what one pays for. An online boilerplate company may offer cheap legal services, but keep in mind that these legal services are generic and far from being tailored to each specific case. Online legal services are crafted by taking into account only the law, without keeping in mind the application of the law to the widespread needs different clients may have. It’s like buying a protein bar without taking into account your workout needs!
For example, an online boilerplate company may offer a lower-priced contract template for an employment agreement. Contract law requires three main things in order for the contract to be enforceable – consideration, offer, and acceptance. This online template will surely help make a contract enforceable, but contracts – like most, if not all legal services – are not one size fits all. An employment agreement for a store clerk may be quite different than one for a doctor. Let’s take the case of an agreement for a doctor working with a clinic. The online contract might have all the important clauses that one first thinks of with contracts, such as term and payment, but might lack a crucial – and often overlooked – non-compete clause. Without meeting in-person with an attorney, an employer runs the risk of this doctor/employee setting up a competing clinic right across the street!
When shopping for legal services, one should keep in mind that it is far better to meet with an attorney in present to discuss one’s legal needs, and remember that cheaper is not always better!