Whenever the election cycle is in full force the concept of the middle class is brought back into focus by both sides. How either side plans on correcting the strains on the middle class and getting them going in the right direction becomes the focal point of both campaigns. An important aspect of how the middle class is treated in society that rarely gets discussed is how the middle class gets access to legal services and representation.
When it comes to legal services, the middle class is stuck in that unfortunate space between the poor that have access to free legal services from the government and the rich who can afford to pay the big law firms for representation. The middle class client is unlikely to be represented pro bono as they do not qualify as being financially distressed enough to be unable to pay for any legal representation. Instead, the middle class has to hope to find firms or solo practitioners that offer low bono representation, which unfortunately is hard to find. Large firms can rationalize their high hourly rates by pointing to their extensive experience, successes and support staff and solo practitioners will point to their bottom line. The solo practitioner is forced to do the work of several people at once and in order to stay in business has to bill high enough where the threat of going out of business isn’t constant.
Luckily, it appears that change is on its way for the middle class. Through the use of modern technology and a shift in how the legal profession is viewed, the middle class can begin to see their access to legal representation swing in their favor. A solo practitioner or small firm that can embrace this evolution will not only become successful, but also become a champion of the middle class.
Technology is advancing every day, and similar to how it has made medicine much more efficient, it has aided the workflow of the legal profession. In the same spectrum of how hospitals and individual doctors have transitioned to electronic medical records, the legal profession has the ability to replicate that efficiency. Instead of wasting time scouring through the same documents over and over again, converting the papers to an electronic format and labeling them in a fashion that makes locating the right document significantly more time efficient will be a gamechanger for any firm. When less time is spent relocating a document, more time can be allocated on working on the client’s legal issues. Efficiency becomes the name of the game, and when the lawyer wins, the client wins as well.
The second important step that the middle class needs to take is adjusting how they view the legal profession as a whole. The legal profession, for the most part, is viewed in a similar way as an emergency room in a hospital, when the absolute worst has happened and there is no way of solving the issue yourself. Instead, the middle class should start to view attorneys the same way they view their general physician or their dentist. A bulk of a client’s issues can be solved much easier and simpler if they get a “checkup” every so often and get a jump start on combating possible issues down the road. Just like a physician will make recommendations to a patient’s routines and regimens, at attorney can give advice and suggestions of what should be done to better protect the client’s interests.
Through these two major steps, the legal profession and the middle class can come together and work collectively in a way that benefits both in the end; a win-win for everyone.
The Gohari Legal Group represents clients in bankruptcy, real estate, litigation, business, immigration, estate planning and divorce matters in the state of Maryland. We are located in Bethesda, Maryland and serve the clients of Prince George’s, Frederick and Montgomery Counties. We bring our decades of experience in the practice of law to serve our clients in a speedy and cost-efficient manner. We are a small firm that allows us to provide clients with the personal attention they need.