Have any MeFites had any experience with the services provided through Pre-Paid Legal?
January 29, 2004 11:01 PM   Subscribe

Have any MeFites had any experience with the services provided through Pre-Paid Legal? The net is crawling with unverifiable anecdotes and rants, but I'd appreciate input from this community.

cont'd: Pre-Paid Legal offers a monthly subscription providing telephone access to unnamed (allegedly competent) legal counsel. Several young friends of mine have been caught up in the revival-style recruitment meetings and have signed on as distributors, barely comprehending the "product" before committing to recruit others to help sell it.

I'm halfway ready to sign up for the monthly service just to test my suspicions.

MediaMoogle has some info that backs up my gut instincts about the typical MLM baloney, such as shunning all your "negative, dream-stealing" friends, studying dreck like "Rich Dad Poor Dad," etc.

Overlooking for the moment the repellent, exploitive, cult-like aspects of an MLM operation, I would be somewhat consoled if the actual product/service that these friends are pitching were actually useful. But I can't see that it offers much to anyone who's a bit resourceful. Anyone been there, done that...?
posted by Tubes to Law & Government (4 answers total)
Simply put, a Pre-Paid Legal plan does for attorney and legal bills what an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) does for doctor and hospital bills.

Those are their words, not mine. Here's some more information. I would also worry about the quality of legal services you receive. If you need canned legal advice, Pre-Paid is probably fine, but I'm skeptical of their ability to adapt their services to individual circumstances. Although some employers have put together group legal plans that might be reasonable, when you through in the MLM aspect of this particular company, I'd think long and hard before signing up.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:22 AM on January 30, 2004

A friend of mine was offered a service like this through her employee benefit plan. Seeing a divorce in her near future, she signed up. Some months later the divorce was official and the joint property was divided. She had no complaints about the quality of her legal counsel. On the other hand, her ex couldn't afford a pricey hired-gun either, and there wasn't much to fight over. So, what monju said... it was satisfactory service in an uncomplicated procedure.
posted by Alylex at 8:50 AM on January 30, 2004

I worked for a pre-paid legal firm two summers ago. I thought it was pretty sketchy: the entire back room was a bank of telephones with phone operators soliciting clients. The attorney I worked for was a nice guy, but I never got the impression he was a particularly talented lawyer. He was kind of like the McDonald's of attorneys (similar to the HMO analogy). So if money's an issue and you see legal trouble down the road, pre-paid might not be a terrible idea. If you don't have a money issue, then I'd take your chances and if something comes up you'll just retain a competent, non-pre-paid attorney. Many work on a contingency basis (like the one I worked for this summer) so it may not be the worst idea in the world.
posted by adrober at 9:39 AM on January 30, 2004

I work at a legal publishing firm, and although this doesn't REALLY qualify me as able to make a qualified answer, I can tell you something from working with attorneys everyday.

You are better off either:
1. Getting a group legal plan through work. This is usually a network of lawyers, so if you are not satisfied with one, you can choose another within your plan. Often, this service can be taken out of your paycheck before taxes.

2. Interviewing some attorneys for their services. You most often get what you pay for and good ones will outline everything that they will do for you, without any hidden costs. Remember, consultation should be free.

I have gone through the second route and have been pleased with the results. Also, I would never go with an attorney who needs to advertise on TV.
posted by jasonspaceman at 10:49 AM on January 30, 2004

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