It has been a busy weekend. Over and above revisions to our billing model as a whole and to our efforts to encourage better communication with our clients, we are also quite excited about a new legal advice service we are launching.
Given the high costs of legal services, it appears than many individuals and SMEs do not have ready access to affordable legal advice. For the most part a simple phone call can set a client back a few hundred rands. This prospect means that clients may spend more time watching the clock than participating meaningfully in the conversation with their attorneys. This, of course, constitutes a barrier to legal advice for many prospective clients which, in turn, means that many may attempt to tackle an issue on their own. This could lead to bigger problems down the line and even costly litigation. All this when all you may want to do is ask a quick question and receive a quick answer.
Our legal advice service seeks to address that barrier. What we offer is a month by month subscription based service whereby you may contact us by phone, email or fax with a brief query which we will answer concisely. As its name suggests, this is an advice service. Think of it as a virtual legal advice centre. You are free to use the service as long as you wish. You will not be required to sign long term agreements or commit to anything more than one month at a time. All we ask is that if you wish to stop making use of the service that you send us an email or a fax to this effect so we have a written record of this.
To sign up, you will need to complete a registration form (available from our offices), forward the documentation we require in terms of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (the same documents you had to present to the bank a while ago) and make payment of one month’s subscription into our Trust account. We will treat these payments as we do all payments from clients and will hold this money in Trust until the end of the month in question at which time we will levy a charge against your individual Trust account for that particular month. If you haven’t made a payment to us in that particular month then we will assume you have no desire to use the service that month and there will accordingly be no charge. So what is the cost? A mere R250 per month!
If you are an existing client and your account with us is up to date then this new service is included in the services we offer to you at no further cost. The one qualification is that advice provided in terms of this particular service (as opposed to our usual modus operandi) must not relate directly to an existing matter.
The legal advice service is being offered on a trial basis and is governed by our terms of appointment. This service is no longer available. The Law Society informed me that such a service is regarded as touting or otherwise as unprofessional conduct.