Like with many industries, customers look to the web in search of ways to spend their money as opposed to the high street. Legal services, it seems, are following the same path. Last year, Rocket Lawyer announced a $223 million investment that was led by Vista Credit Partners, a financial partner and credit investor that is focused on data and technology. Together, they are launching Rocket Legal Cloud™, which hopes to meet the ever-increasing demand for the firm’s online legal tools.
Rocketlawyer.com is a leader of its kind; a legal company that focuses its services on the web. Founder Charley Moore comes from a law background, but the company acts just as much like a tech startup as it does a law firm. It is this hybrid of models that has put rocket lawyers to the top of the online legal services industry.
This market is often differentiated from the law services industry more generally because many see it as a completely different service. Furthermore, it is also arguable that they’re not even targeting the same demographic of customers either – resulting in more people creating wills than ever before. To understand this though, you need to understand the services that companies like Rocket Lawyer deliver.
Rocket Lawyer Review: Unique Value Proposition
First and foremost, the biggest difference between Rocket Lawyer and a traditional firm is the way the service is delivered and the experience of the customer. The main service, or at least its most popular, is in will creation. Of course, a will is either valid or it isn’t, and thus the resulting will should deliver the same promise regardless of whether it’s from an online company or a traditional firm.
Whilst this is true, the process of creating the will is entirely different, and as a result, so is the price. Instead of paying several hundreds of dollars for an appointment in an attorney’s office, the online company provides a form-builder in which customers can sign-up within a minute using a Rocket Lawyer login, and build a will using an online template in a matter of 15 minutes.
Because of this automaticity, Rocket Lawyer wills and trusts costs are slashed to $39.99 each for their legal documents, be it a last will and testament or a pet guardian trust. This not only completely shifts the demographic towards customers who are:
More tech orientated
Looking to save on cost
Do not have a complex estate
These factors are further evidence that online wills are more popular among younger people. Not only are younger people more likely to prefer interacting online, but they often have less money and simpler estates at that stage of life. In fact, it goes beyond affordability and into “is a will worth the money?”.
As we get older, the more we need a will. This was an attitude that led to many issues during a pandemic, which saw younger people die and their assets not being transferred to who they really would have wanted them to go. Having a cheaper alternative means that the amount of people using a will has increased, and therefore it’s not always in direct competition with traditional law firms. Plus, the rocket lawyer promotion attracts people who otherwise hadn’t even considered a will just yet.
All of the above, however, is true for any online legal firm. The true unique value proposition here for Rocket Lawyer is that they not online have credibility within law (many are founded by tech guys, not law experts) but they actually offer a free 30-minute consultation with an attorney.
Beyond this, further payments can be made for a chat with an attorney remotely, but it’s a brilliant way for Rocket Lawyer to bridge the gap between the online world and the traditional legal industry – and also mitigate some of those concerns around not having guidance from an expert.
The Future of the Legal Industry
The major benefit of having tech drive the service/product that you’re selling, instead of personnel, is that it can receive incremental improvements over time at a fixed cost. In other words, companies like Rocket Lawyer can further improve their form-builder, which then gives the customer an increasingly better experience for very little cost.
In fact, once the form builders become more established and easier to build, many companies will essentially be competing on price instead of differentiation. Either way, these are two things the traditional law industry cannot be fierce on, with the costs and delivery of goods being restricted to the cost and capacity of personnel.
AI is also having its say in the law industry, with the rise of smart contracts and AI lawyers. However, like with Rocket Lawyer, this isn’t necessarily a threat to traditional law firms, though it could refine their customer base.
If you’re wealthy and/or have a complicated and delicate legal issue, paying for an attorney is still unmatched in its service. Online wills aren’t better than the traditional product, the only benefit is their convenience, speed, and price. Many people view a will as either being valid or not, but it’s not as simple as that.
There is a huge grey area where, whilst online wills are credible and can be fine for a simple estate, if a will was contested and/or the contents are naturally complex, it will always be preferable for an experienced lawyer to have overseen more of the will creation process. This is a bit like how accounting software cannot fully replace the value of an accountant.
But, like with most things in life, you get what you pay for – and top-quality service comes at a disproportionately higher price. So, the real dilemma for customers is their judgment over whether paying for the best service is even necessary when the cheaper option would suffice. This is a testament to Rocket Lawyer’s mature decision in recognizing this issue and providing a free consultation with an attorney who should be able to help you make that call.