Do a Google search for “complaints about LegalZoom” and you’ll get over 49,000 results. Now Google “complaints about LegalZoom from attorneys,” and you’ll see that figure shoot to over half a million. Attorneys have been slamming legal tech companies like LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer for years.

It makes sense. Attorneys are feeling priced out. Like some old-school print journalists who bemoan the internet, some old-school attorneys blame LegalZoom for snatching up the market. But instead of cursing the Digital Age, why not use it to your advantage?

Let’s take a closer look at legal tech companies. We’ve learned that consumers prefer subscription-based pricing over hourly rates, on-demand access to services and pain-free processes. Tech companies beat traditional law firms in pricing and efficiency, hands down.

But what would happen if you could use technology to automate tasks, drastically lower your prices and keep giving personalized advice to your clients? You’d have an undeniable competitive advantage over the online companies you’ve been complaining about. The choice for consumers would be clear, and your firm would bring in exponentially more clients than ever before.

I know because that’s exactly what I did for my law firm.

My Accidental Multimillion-Dollar Investment

I’m an attorney and CEO of a niche law firm that forms and maintains business entities for creatives and entrepreneurs in the entertainment industry. In the last 12 years, I’ve invested $3 million in developing a custom software system for my firm.

I had no idea that I would end up spending that much. Back in 1998, soon after I’d left a big firm to start my own real estate and corporate transactional practice, I bumped into an entertainment lawyer who asked if I did annual corporate minutes.

“How much do you charge?” he asked.

“Eighty-five dollars,” I said.

Little did I know that the going rate for this work was $500-$750 a year. This got me thinking, “Most firms do the work manually. If I were able to use technology to make the process extraordinary efficient, this could be a profitable niche.”

In my case, this was all about survival. We needed pricing that would bring in a massive number of clients and a significantly smaller staff to make this work.

Ultimately, my investment in technology proved to be worthy of its expensive price tag.

How To Provide Good, Old-Fashioned Service In A High-Tech World

If cost wasn’t an issue, ask any entrepreneur whether they’d prefer an online library of legal templates or a relationship with an experienced attorney. I’m willing to bet they’d choose the latter — a resource they feel comfortable turning to for advice on legal matters as well as legal documents.

People want quality customer service. Granted, technology has changed our habits. We prefer text messages over phone calls, ATMs over tellers and kiosks over cashiers. We’ll happily avoid talking to someone if the tech option will get something done faster.

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