Is it time for law firms to move to a subscription model?


Many economic experts recommend that businesses (in general) consider changing their current revenue model in favor of a new subscription business model. Just GOOGLE the topic.  You’ll find a plethora of books, treatises, and articles advocating same.  We see this shift in industries including clothing (Trunk Club, Stitch Fix), food (Blue Apron, Home Chef, Hello Fresh), office supplies (Rad & Hungry, Crate Joy), music (Amazon Music, Pandora, Spotify), gym memberships, airline memberships, pet supplies, and more.  Gino Wickham, author of the book “The Automatic Customer, ” calls this new subscription revenue model economy the “membership economy”.  So here is the question: can lawyers reasonably and ethically provide legal services by offering our clients “membership” in a legal service “club” – and charge them a reasonable monthly fee for same?

We all like to belong to something and realize exclusive benefits.  Members get to step to the front of the line, per se, (think Amazon Prime, TSA Pre-Check, Global Entry, etc.), over others (that’s human nature).  Thus, why not create a value in your law firm beyond, but inclusive of legal services to which you invite your clients to “belong”?

How would you promote it? What should you bundle?  Attorneys already help with things like contract review and negotiations, business venture start-ups, real estate closings, simple traffic violations, auto-accident insurance negotiations, cease and desist letters, and the like. Further, we’re often called when a client just has a quick legal question.  But some clients don’t call for fear of being billed.

But, what if you bundled legal services and also gave clients a “Membership Benefit”, such as subscribing them to a “special” monthly newsletter with thoughtful, meaningful content, producing and updating a series of exclusive membership only topical videos for your members, offer regular monthly or semi-monthly meetings with your clients to go over any legal issue they wish to review with you (with appropriate limitations clearly spelled out in your subscription agreement) all for a flat recurring fee?  However, ethically, we must be careful not to promise more than we can deliver.  If we don’t deliver what is promised, that would probably make our fees unreasonable and [possibly] therefore unethical.

Is the subscription revenue model right for your firm? Find out in our new white paper: The Case for Subscription-Based Legal Services

Affinity White Paper - Subscription - Blog - v1


Steve Best

Written by Steve Best

Steve is a Partner with Affinity and a member of both the Florida and Georgia bars. Steve leverages his passion for technology, along with his knowledge in the practice of law to help his clients make their firms and departments more productive. Steve specifically focuses on the areas of document management and time, billing and accounting.

Recent Posts