What’s a 3 Pillar Self-rep Service?

A 3 Pillar Self-rep Service is where you know what you’ll be getting and what it will cost before you buy, and that you can get if from anywhere at any time. It’s:

  1. Defined:
    The service must be defined in advance with an accurate description of what’s included.
  2. Fixed fees:
    The service must have a fixed fee or stated range that will be quoted and capped in advance of starting the work.
  3. Accessible:
    The service must be accessible by anyone, anywhere in Ontario, by Internet or phone.

A predefined service can be one set out in advance, such as the services offered through The Family law Coach, or something custom designed for the consumer by the lawyer during a telephone consultation at a meeting so the self-rep will know what they’re getting before they buy.

A fixed fee can be a price set out in advance, such as with The Family Law Coach services, or a quote given for a custom designed service. Sometimes the fixed fee might be an hourly rate with a cap set so that the self-rep knows the maximum cost before they buy.

And “accessible” service means the customer can access the service by phone, Skype, or email from anywhere they are that makes sense for the self-rep so they don’t have to travel to the provider’s office.

Why a 3 Pillar Self-rep Service?

It’s to give family law self-reps affordable and useful services at fixed fees, that they can access from anywhere, to help them level the playing field in family court. It’s to create a service, and a way of delivering that service, designed from the perspective of what’s useful and convenient for the the purchaser of the service, not that of the provider.

The purpose of The Family Law Coach is to provide economical and focused services to self-reps in family court.

Most family law lawyers are looking for full fee paying clients and are charging their services at an hourly rate for every hour spent on the file. They feel that since that’s the way it’s been done for centuries, why change it now?

Some lawyers are offering unbundled services (a slice of what they do for full retainer clients) but at the same hourly rate. But that still leaves the consumer with no idea of the final cost. And the consumer still needs to attend at the lawyer’s office.

So we decided to ask self-reps what they wanted, instead of telling them what we offered.

What self-reps said they wanted

Self-reps said they wanted an economical way to get:

  • help to navigate the complex family law system,
  • an understanding of what would happen at each step,
  • what they could reasonably expect a court to do in their circumstances,
  • strategic advice about the strengths and weaknesses of their case, and
  • help to prepare their documents and present their case effectively.

They said they wanted this help in small, affordable, chunks so they could get – at least – a “little bit” of knowledge and assistance to better help them through the system if they couldn’t afford a lawyer.

And lastly, they told us that going to a lawyer’s office, and sitting in a waiting room, to see a lawyer didn’t work for them.

  • Some found transportation to the lawyer’s office from where they lived, difficult to arrange.
  • Others couldn’t, or didn’t want, to take time off work to visit their lawyer.
  • And others had trouble arranging for childcare.

They needed a way to be in touch with the lawyer without having to go to the office during “normal” office hours.

So we developed The Family Law Coach 3 Pillars of self-rep service approach to meet the concerns we heard.

What’s new about a 3 Pillar Self-rep Service?

For those of us who buy goods and services other than legal services, on-line, there’s not much new or different about a 3 Pillar service. But for consumers of legal services, there’s a lot.

That’s because, with very few exceptions, most family law lawyers don’t like, and don’t offer, defined, fixed fees services, accessible to the customer from wherever they want to get it.

Traditionally we lawyers tell customers what services they need, we set the price, and we take over the customer’s case because we know better than them what they should expect and how to get it. Basically, the client should be appreciative that we’ve agreed to take their case.

But that thinking is no longer good enough. Thinking about selling services that buyers want, that they can get from wherever they are, at a cost they can afford, and that they’ll find useful, is something new for most lawyers. And, generally, lawyers are reluctant to adapt to new ways of doing things.

What’s new about 3 Pillar Self-rep Services is that they’re designed to give self-represented consumers information and assistance, at fixed prices they can afford, that they can buy on an à la carte, or “off the shelf”, basis, and get if from the convenience of their own home.

Check them out The Family Law Coach services. See what makes sense for you.

Who provides 3 Pillar Self-rep Services and where can you find them?

For starters, we do.

But anyone wanting to offer a service to a family law self-rep can provide their own 3 Pillar service, and we’re trying to encourage more and more people to do this.

Not only family law lawyers. But also mediators, divorce or court coaches, therapists, family valuators, speech and drama coaches, etc. Anyone who has a service that would benefit a self-rep, can create their own 3 Pillar service and promote it through our Providers Directory. (We require lawyer, mediators, and therapists to have at least 3 years of experience to ensure they know what they’re talking about.)

With the Providers Directory, The Family Law Coach is inviting anyone with a service of value to a self-rep to create and offer a 3 Pillar service. Hopefully, between The Family Law Coach services and those offered by the providers in the Directory, you’ll find something of value to you, at a cost you can afford.

If you know of anyone who you think should consider creating a 3 Pillar service, let us know. We’ll help them put together something of value for a self-rep so they can be listed on the Directory.