How We Are Disrupting The California Divorce Business

Have you heard the word “disruptive” used to describe some business’s or business models? Disruptive in this sense is defined as follows “A disruptive innovation is an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network”.

Here is what comes to mind when I hear disruptive innovations.  I am sure you have heard some of these and I will give you a little comparison.

Uber’s entry into the transportation industry effecting Taxi services.

Amazon’s effect on shopping.

Pandora’s effect on how we consume music.

Airbnb’s effect on options for hotels.

You can see how the introduction of these business models effected the business’s that had operated the same way for so many years without ever making changes to their business model.

So why do I bring this up.  I believe that our business is a disruptive business to the legal profession by providing affordable legal services to people.

When I first started this business, I did not feel that this business model was disruptive to law firms and attorneys. I felt that our client base was much different than the client base for attorneys.

However, as the years have gone by, I do notice some overlap. This overlap is in the shape of people who would have otherwise used an attorney for their divorce, but because we existed, they turned to us for help.  Many of these people never needed an attorney to begin with, they just didn’t know there was any other options.  And until we came along, there really was not anyone else out there doing what we are doing.

I am not saying that we created this industry.  Not at all.  The concept of independent paralegal services has been around a long time.  It was not until 12 or so plus years ago they put a new name to it, “Legal Document Assistant” to differentiate between what we do and what a paralegal does which is to be supervised by an attorney.

Anyway, our business model is a disruptive model to the lawyer and law firm business model. Many of our clients would have otherwise used an attorney had they not found us.  But this would have only been due to lack of options.  Many did not need an attorney or legal advice, but there was no other choice than to pay the big bucks for an attorney.

Here is a perfect example of a recent conversation that was disruptive to lawyers.

I received a call from a guy who had questions about attending a Trial Setting Conference. He was living out of state so he was looking for someone to attend the hearing on his behalf because he did not want to fly in.  He had called around and spoke to some attorneys and they were quoting him between $2,500 and $5,000 for a retainer fee.  This is pretty typical.

The one attorney said the $2,500 would only pay for her appearance at the TSC and anything else would be billed at $250 per hour.

Here is what I told him.  I told him that the Trial Setting Conference is not all that important and usually lasts about 15 minutes, if that.  I then told him it is possible to get permission from the court to appear telephonically.  ==>Here is the article which discusses more on that process<==

So he followed my advice and got permission for the court call. His total cost? $86.00…

$86.00 vs. $2,500.  And that money didn’t even go to me.  That went to the Company that provides the Court Call service.

You might say I have a bad business model.  I spent 30 minutes on the phone with this guy, looked up his court case number, provided him the number to the court and to court call.

I don’t think so though. This guy will call me back as his case progresses.  How can’t he after the help that was provided.

And that is how I operate my business.  I look out for the best interest of my clients, whether clients or not and whether I will make any money or not.  I think it will give me good Karma.

And I think it is a bad practice for an attorney to not tell someone that a hearing is only going to last 15 minutes and knowing he is out of state does not have any options so tries to bilk $2,500 out of him.

This is why attorneys have the reputation they have.