Reimagining Legal Fees With Marble

AJ Gilead

Reimagining Legal Fees With Marble

| 5 min

Paying for legal services always seems to be like an equation with missing components. Considered a heavy burden that can consume a significant portion of a person’s fortune, people are reluctant to seek legal help and merely hope not to get to the point where they don’t have a choice. 

Not surprisingly, payment and costs are on the top list of clients' concerns when approaching law firms. According to a study conducted by Marble, an online legal care firm based in California and New York, payment and cost are ranked among the top four concerns, together with a fast response rate, the opportunity to get started right away, and free consultation. If you’re under thirty, cost is even a bigger consideration before starting a new case. 

Paying for legal services with Marble
Paying for legal services with Marble's online interface

What are some factors that have made legal fees a big uncertainty?

The legal services market doesn’t behave like a marketplace

We all have been accustomed to digital marketplaces where prices are visible and estimated delivery times are clear. These marketplaces are everywhere: retail, travel, transportation, and finance. 

The legal industry, though, does not show the same level of transparency. Fragmented across many small law offices and tens of thousands of sole practitioners operating in fifty states, there is no such thing as a uniform price list. 

Legal processes are unpredictable

It’s never easy to anticipate how a spouse will react to a family case being initiated, what pieces of evidence will be pulled out in an employment case, or how much time it will take to get a green card. Legal processes are hard to anticipate.

50 shades of pay

Law firms bill in multiple ways, which may confuse clients and make the final bill hard to understand. Most lawyers bill hourly, but may also demand an upfront fee. That leaves clients needing to pay a large sum even before the case starts, making them anxious about the final bill as the total number of hours is unpredictable. 

Old-fashioned sales process

Finding a new lawyer and negotiating fees is still done as it was ten or twenty years ago. Direct calls or face to face meetings, dictated prices, and a tiresome negotiation are the norm. 

Law firms usually lack the customer service experience modern clients expect, but since they are often in distress, they usually don’t have a choice but to renounce legal representation, go for the cheaper and less professional lawyer, or end up with an expensive law firm. 

Most law firms are distancing away from innovation

The legal services market industry is backward in terms of adopting new technologies. Online payments, online onboarding, or even third-party financial lenders, are still strangers to most law firms. 

An inherent asymmetry between client and lawyer

There is an inherent gap between clients and lawyers when they set out to discuss payments. While clients seek guidance and help, often in distress, lawyers have the upper hand on the situation, and some may take advantage of the situation to negotiate a better price for their service. 

Affordable legal services reimagined

When we set out to build Marble, we reimagined legal service that brings together technology and professional teams to provide not only remarkable legal care but also affordable, with multiple convenient payment options. As customers of legal services ourselves, we saw 80% of Americans living below the poverty line, and the vast majority of middle-income U.S. citizens disenfranchised from legal services. In fact, the United States is among the most costly legal systems in the world

We offer a variety of payment options that makes Marble an affordable service for legal practices such as family law, criminal law, and DUI.

We use predictive analytics to come up with optimal prices

A little innovation is needed to introduce more transparency into the market. We at Marble are developing predictive analytics algorithms that produce optimal prices for dozens of cases in a variety of legal practices, such as family law, DUI, and criminal law. As a part of our mission to level the playing field in legal services, we believe that technology can step in and help the lawyer decide the optimal price for both sides. Having the ability to predict legal fees allows us to offer flat fees and not bill hourly as most law firms do. This helps us reduce uncertainty and stress in our clients. 

Choose how and when you want to pay

We believe that making legal services accessible to anyone means offering a variety of payment options with a high level of flexibility. Therefore, clients have the option to pay an upfront flat fee and receive a 10% discount. Otherwise, they can pay off their fees in monthly installments over time. Our partnership with our talented lawyers has allowed us to keep prices low, and ensure quality while eliminating uncertainty.

Online payment on the spot, anywhere

We understand that clients in need of legal care are willing to start a process immediately, if they can, to get peace of mind knowing that their case is underway. In addition to an online case assessment, clients can start any time with our 24/7 legal care team, and we allow clients to pay online with a credit card with the same convenience of ordering delivery. 

In addition, we realize that paying for legal services sometimes involves friends or family members, so we allow third parties to pay for our clients.

Paying is not per lawyer - but for a team on your behalf

When you go onboard a case with Marble, you’re not matched with a lawyer that works your money. Our fees do not depend on the service provider, but rather reflect the service you get from a team of expert lawyers and case managers that collaborate to provide a remarkable service altogether. It is the combination of professional legal care, ongoing case updates, availability, and transparency that makes Marble special. 

We allow third-party financing lender

If you pay the entire fee up front, we offer a courtesy discount. However, we allow clients to use a third-party financing lender. If a client chooses to opt into the program, we collect a deposit, then the client remits the remainder of the balance to Marble once he or she is funded by the lender. 

Marble’s unique technology platform, together with a collaborative legal team of experts, allows us to provide not only an affordable solution for Americans who are looking for a different kind of law firm, but it also alleviates the stress and uncertainty legal fees play in the relationship between lawyers and clients. This allows clients and their legal care teams to focus on winning their cases.

Jan 26, 2021
AJ Gilead