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Back To The Future In Legal Services: 40 Years And Counting

Stocks in this article: PPD

ADA, Okla., May 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. (NYSE: PPD) approaches its 40th year anniversary, the legal profession (and industry) in the U.S. is undergoing profound change. As noted in the April 2, 2011 "Report of the Task Force on the Future of the Legal Profession," sponsored by the New York State Bar Association, there is a "sea change" taking place in the legal profession and in "the value proposition upon which the relationship between lawyers and clients is based."

Although much of the report focuses on corporate law and major law firms, the industry as a whole is changing. According to a May 5, 2011 Economist story, "Ultimately, lawyering is becoming more of a business than a profession. Some lawyers decry this. Others welcome it. Few deny it."

Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. (PPD) and the network of independent provider law firms embrace the concept. As the professional and academic debate about the future of "big law" continues, PPD provider attorneys are delivering practical, cost-effective and efficient legal counsel and solutions in a plan-based format for the everyday legal issues that affect members (customers) throughout the U.S. and four provinces of Canada.

Attorneys from among the 38 independent law firms that provide legal services to PPD members were asked to offer their perspectives on the PPD business model and delivery practices compared to traditional, private practice law.

Differences in delivery models

"The private practice and the Pre-Paid Legal delivery models are as different as night and day," said Jim Merritt, of Merritt, Flebotte, Wilson, Webb & Caruso, PLLC, the Durham, North Carolina-based law firm and PPD service provider.

"The differences in these business models and the way the services are delivered reflect the revolution now under way in the legal services industry. The Pre-Paid Legal delivery model provides for quality legal service at lower cost, increased responsiveness, customer-oriented service and access to the legal system for many who otherwise couldn't afford it," Merritt said.

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