While GLSA does not provide legal services plans, we assist the companies that offer these plans, as well as the attorneys that participate in these plans by offering their services. We are committed to expanding access to quality legal representation through legal plans and believe that affordable access to quality legal assistance when you need it is invaluable.
What is a Legal Services Plan?
While you may have seen an advertisement on the television or heard one on the radio, most people are unclear about what legal plans really are and how they can benefit from having a legal plan attorney. So if you are a little unsure, don’t worry, we are here to help.
Legal plans come in many shapes and sizes but they typically fall into two categories: “access plans” and “comprehensive plans”
1. Access Plans - An access plan, is just what it sounds like, access to an attorney for legal advice and preventive services. The basic service is generally provided by telephone. You join a plan, they give you an “800” number and a member number and you call a lawyer. You will usually talk directly with a lawyer right away. The basic services are phone advice, and document review. For example, if you receive something by mail and don’t understand your rights, with an access plan you would be able to call the legal plan attorney.
2. Comprehensive Group or Prepaid Legal Plans - These plans operate much like your PPO health insurance plan. You pay a set amount from your paycheck and have access to the covered legal services when you need them. While the services vary among plans, most cover unlimited telephone calls with participating attorneys, as well as document review, preparation of wills, consumer and family matters, such as bankruptcy, bill collection, divorce or adoptions. Some plans cover traffic related cases.
If you don’t belong to a professional organization that provides group legal services plans or don’t have the option to enroll in a group plan through your employer, you may be able to purchase an individual or family prepaid legal plan. Several companies offer legal services plans for small businesses too.
What is Typically Covered in a Prepaid Legal Plan?
While plans vary based on the options selected by the employer or consumer, almost every legal plan provides legal advice by telephone as a basic service. That means that if you have purchased a prepaid legal plan and have a question about a lease, a dispute you are having with your neighbor or a revision to your will for that new baby; all you have to do is pick up the phone and call an attorney. Most plans also include:
- Phone calls to ask legal questions
- In person consultations
- Simple legal document review
- Will preparation
- A couple of calls made or letters written on your behalf by a lawyer
Some plans also include more comprehensive legal representation and may cover issues relating to criminal cases, contested divorces and business questions. Most plans also offer coverage for your spouse or domestic partner along with any dependent children.
If you are interested in purchasing a prepaid legal plan we encourage you to check with your employer first, you may have access to a legal services plan during open enrollment. If not, click on our directory of member plans. While we don’t recommend any specific plans, the plans listed in our directory have joined GLSA as part of their commitment to providing affordable access to quality legal services. The participating organizations will be happy to explain your options based on your home state, your personal needs and your budget.
As the administrator of a legal services plan, we know you are responsible for wide variety of tasks - from the day to day operations of the plan, the promotion of the plan and the management of the participating attorneys and the plan members. GLSA is committed to helping our plan administrator members by:
- Connecting you with attorneys interested in providing services through your plan via our networking events and Universal Application.
- Keeping you up-to-date on regulations and legal developments that affect the legal plan industry.
- Creating opportunities to meet other professional involved in the creation and administration of group legal services plans.
- Providing increased exposure through company listings on our Employer and Consumer Membership Directories.
GLSA also dedicates considerable resources to increasing nationwide awareness of availability and effectiveness of legal services plans. We host an annual convention to connect GLSA members with experts in the field, members of the public and professionals interested in participating in a legal services plan in one capacity or another. We also host mini-conferences across the United States throughout the year to increase public knowledge of the industry.
As an additional member benefit, we are planning an Employer Request for Proposal (RFP) page, similar to the Universal Application. GLSA would host the form for employers to fill out, then GLSA would forward the form to participating members. We are still working on this and welcome the participation of any members to contribute to the success of this project.
Our membership application process is simple and we encourage you to join today to take advantage of everything we have to offer.
In today’s changing employment landscape, retaining your best employees requires providing them with access to a number of benefits that they could not access on their own. One of these benefits is the ability to participate in a group legal services plan. The Group Legal Services Association (GLSA) is a nonprofit organization committed to expanding access to quality legal services through increasing awareness of and access to group and prepaid legal services plans.
Legal Service Plan Overview
Although legal service plans have been available for decades, their existence has not been widely publicized and few employers know that they can offer their employees legal peace of mind as part of their benefits packages. The term Prepaid Legal Services Plan has been used for any type of arrangement which establishes a fund of money in the present which is used to pay legal fees for services required by plan contributors in the future. The term is used synonymously with “group legal plan”, “legal expense insurance”, “legal services benefit plan” and others.
A brief explanation of the types of plans:
1. Prepaid Access Plans: The prepaid access plan combines prepayment for advice and consultation with a fee for services benefit. The term access is used to describe the primary purpose of the plan, which is to provide easy access to a lawyer for legal advice and other preventive services. The basic service is generally legal advice and consultation by telephone. Basic service may also include office consultations, preparation and review of simple legal documents and short letters written by a lawyer to an adverse party. If additional services are necessary, the plan member is referred to an attorney, usually other than the attorney answering the telephone, who has agreed in advance to provide such services at discounted fees. Such plans are typically offered by employers as a benefit, through a group legal services plan or as part of an Employee Assistance Plan (EAP).
2. Comprehensive Group or Prepaid Legal Plans: Other plans operate much like health insurance plans in that the consumer or consumer along with the employer pays a monthly or annual premium for access to the covered legal services when the need arises. While the covered services vary among plans, most cover unlimited telephone consultations with participating attorneys, as well as document review, preparation of wills, consumer and family matters, and some traffic related cases.Once the fee has been paid, benefits are available as stated in the plan document at no additional charge, except for deductibles and co-payments which may apply in certain situations depending upon the plan.
3. Discount Legal Plans: These plans may be available through an employer or professional organizations. The member has access to a group plan that entitles them to consult with a participating attorney and obtain legal services at a discounted, pre-negotiated rate with the participating lawyers.
What are the Benefits of a Legal Services Plan?
At GLSA, we believe that everyone should have access to affordable legal representation, unfortunately, most people can’t afford the assistance they need when a problem arises. Personal legal problems can affect worker productivity, worker morale and corporate climate. By providing your employees with access to affordable legal assistance you head these problems off at the pass and empower your employees to take action before personal legal problems become distractions that interfere with their ability to perform at work.
For more information about the bottom line value of assessing your employees' full benefits needs through surveys, and providing them with easy access to comprehensive benefits packages, read this article published in Employee Benefit News on October 9, 2014.
What is the Cost of a Legal Plan?
Most employers are happy to discover that offering their employees access a group or prepaid legal services plan can be easy to administer and very cost effective. Most group and prepaid legal services plans can be purchased for $100.00 to $600.00 a year, providing a wide range of coverage depending on the policy selected. Pricing for group plans vary based on a number of factors including the number of covered individuals, the location of the group and the benefits desired.
If you would like to learn more about providing your employees access to a group legal services plan, we encourage you to request a quote from one or more of our providers to learn about what services are available.