How Subscription-Based Legal Services are Providing Access to Justice featuring Mathew Kerbis

Subscription-based law firms shouldn't work, but they are. Mathew Kerbis is advocating for legal access that costs less money than your favorite streaming service.

LISTEN TO LEARN

  • Why fractionalized in-house counsel is the future
  • The importance of time-blocking your calendar
  • Best tech tools for solo law practitioners
  • Every attorney sending client information through email could be committing client malpractice
  • Why legal services for freelancers is an important niche market

WHAT WE DISCUSS

  • Podcasting is a wonderful medium for lawyers because of the performance aspect of 
  • How business owners can minimize surprises and control their time
  • Lawyers (especially litigators) often enjoy the performance of law
  • The differences between engagement fees and retainer agreements
How Subscription-Based Legal Services are Providing Access to Justice featuring Mathew Kerbis

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How Subscription-Based Legal Services are Providing Access to Justice featuring Mathew KerbisHow Subscription-Based Legal Services are Providing Access to Justice featuring Mathew Kerbis

About This Episode

When Kerbis decided that it was time to open his own law firm, he knew he wanted to offer something unique and special to his clients. This is why Kerbis decided to offer subscription-based legal services to business owners and freelancers. After all, Kerbis is a freelancer himself. Keep reading to learn more about The Subscription Lawyer, Mathew Kerbis on You Are A Lawyer.

Mathew Kerbis' Background

Subscription-based law firms are shaking up the legal practice in BIG ways. Many actions that lawyers complete, drafting documents, reviewing files, monitoring trademarks, etc. can be paid for on a subscription model and Mathew Kerbis wants to convince you of this. 

And you will believe him. Kerbis, as he prefers to be called, even shared the magic of subscription-based legal service with his employer. The insurance defense company ultimately decided to keep their billable hour requirements, but this did not deter Kerbis. 

Lawyer Side Hustles

Subscription services are variations of the classic law firm retainer. A retainer is paid to a law firm and that firm is available to you when you need their services. However, a business has to be large enough to common a retainer or the person has to pay a large amount of money in retainer fees every month. 

Subscription-based legal services are win-win situations:

  • If you need access to The Subscription Lawyer, that is built into your monthly subscription fee. 
  • If you do not need access to The Subscription Lawyer, you have the comfort (and insurance) of knowing that access is available to you. 
  • Kerbis is not the first lawyer to utilize this payment method, but Kerbis is pioneering in using subscription-based methods for general legal services.

Small business owners and freelancers need access to legal services and The Subscription Attorney provides that access. Small businesses and freelancers should have access to competent legal counsel, forms, and contracts and not be priced out of the market because of their status as small businesses.

Transparent pricing, transparent agreements, and having the feeling that you could do this; you could be a subscription attorney, is Kerbis’ model. Imagine not being billed when your attorney is researching an issue. This a task that could be 80% of the time spent by an attorney while working on your case. Kerbis does not bill for this task because he will take that research and use it for his Knowledge Base which allows him to serve more clients who could potentially have that same question.

After moving from the city of Chicago to the suburbs because of the pandemic, Kerbis decided that he wanted to make another big change: he started his own business. Worked in litigation for insurance defense, then worked in transactional law to get away from the billable hours' demand. Kerbis is known simply as “The Subscription Lawyer.”

"Engagement agreements are an earned fee immediately, the opposite of a retainer fee, where the client is billing against the retained money," explains Kerbis in Episode 68 of You Are A Lawyer.

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Law School Leadership Activities

Chair of the Law Student Division of the ABA (like being president of the group and traveling to learn more about law students). Then ran for Chair of the Young Lawyers Division. The entire purpose was to find ways to innovate the legal practice and find ways to make members of the American Bar Association, Kerbis was a member of the young lawyers' division founding podcast team. Learning to record and edit and release podcasts. Took all that knowledge and used it to teach others bout subscription-based legal services. 

Lawyers are Entrepreneurs

The ability to think on your feet is a trait that makes litigators irreplaceable. But what happens when you have this trait but want to work in transactional law? Kerbis was encouraged to become a litigator by his professors, classmates, and mock trial judges until you become a litigator.

Although Kerbis thrived as a litigator for an insurance defense law firm, Kerbis wanted his side hustle to thrive. 

Most law firms are built around the billable hour model, especially in litigation. But when Kerbis discovered that people could subscribe to legal services, it was a hard sell to convert an insurance defense firm over to the subscription model. 

However, Kerbis did not forget about his subscription-based legal services model and continued to work on it during his free time. When the pandemic occurred, facing the demands of billable hours and the welcomed changes of being a parent, Kerbis decided that it was time to shift his focus.

Family versus Billable Hours

“Billable hours did not mess well with wanting to be an involved father,” explained Mathew Kerbis in Episode 68 of You Are A Lawyer. In his millennial family, Kerbis and his wife worked and needed to share parenting duties. 

Parenting during a pandemic is unlike anything law school (or life) could prepare you for. And when Kerbis enjoyed being involved with their child and could not reconcile spending long hours going into the office or being away from his home. 

Kerbis started his podcast, The Law Subscribed, to inform others about subscription-based legal services and to use his background in performing arts. The Law Subscribed is all about bringing the subscription model to legal services.

Kerbis relies on tech tools, like Calendly and time-blocking, to ensure that he prioritizes time with his family and away from work responsibilities. Working hard, working with technology, working on tasks that you enjoy, and managing your schedule in the way that you want to, makes running your own business a better option than the comforts of working a typical 9 to 5 job. 

Being your own boss may mean working more than a “typical” 9 to 5 schedule, but you are in control of it. When Kerbis isn’t working or podcasting, he spends a lot of time listening to entrepreneurial and innovative podcasts to become a better business owner. 

Because law school did not teach Kerbis how to be efficient and run a business, Kerbis taught himself. Many of Kerbis’ clients are business owners so it is beneficial to know what they are listening to and be current on trends for business owners. 

Links and Notes

Book a call with The Subscription Attorney LLC: https://subscriptionattorney.com/

Law Subscribed Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/law-subscribed/id1586707101

Chicago Bar Show: https://www.chicagobar.org/chicagobar/CBA/Programs/Bar_Show_Main_Page

American Bar Association: https://www.americanbar.org/membership/

Thinking Like A Lawyer Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/above-the-law-thinking-like-a-lawyer/id976331027

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