My profession is in the legal field (I've worked in the field since 1989). After my own personal dealings with Pre-Paid Legal, I looked even further into how they operate. I've found they prey on the unsuspecting, uneducated (I'm not referencing to schooling level), trusting, weak, and vulnerable.
Pre-Paid Legal associates will convince you into enrolling into the program whether or not you have the money to spend or need legal services. People do not realize that for every person an associate signs, they get money in their pocket every time you sign and make monthly payments! They'll sucker you into believing that you'll save all sorts of money in legal fees! Actually, whenever you call an attorney referred to you by Pre-Paid Legal (you're instructed to inform them who referred you), they increase their retainer and hourly fees before telling you they'll give you a 25% discount! They'll sucker you into believing that they can prevent you from becoming a victim of identity theft. They can't and won't! It is your responsibility to monitor your own credit history with the three major credit-reporting agencies. If there is a discrepancy, it is the credit-reporting agencies you go thru! Pre-Paid Legal associates make everything sound great!
The Pre-Paid Legal associate suckers people into believing that their service only uses Martindale-Hubbell AV rated attorneys. The Martindale-Hubbell AV rating claim is a deliberate misleading propaganda used by Pre-Paid Legal to lure in people into paying them money to keep them in business. Pre-Paid Legal deliberately makes it impossible to investigate the attorneys registered with them because you're not given any name(s) until only after you've enrolled and they have your money!
For those who do not know what Martindale-Hubbell AV is, it is the highest rating for attorneys and law firms. Go to a library and ask them if they carry the Martindale-Hubbell book (this is the only book that rates attorneys and law firms). If they don't have a copy, ask the head librarian if they can order a copy for their library (for research and reference). Look up the attorney's name and 9 out of 10 you'll never find that attorney's name or law firm listed! By chance if they are listed, you'll most likely find there is no AV next to their name. An attorney is not AV rated just because their name appears in the Martindale-Hubbell. If any attorney or law firm is AV rated, the AV will always appear next to their name. If the AV appears just by the name of a law firm, it still does not mean that particular attorney is AV rated.
Pre-Paid Legal makes claims they want you to believe, not what they want you to know. They'd go out of business if you knew the truth! People need to realize that just because Pre-Paid Legal refers an attorney to you does not mean they are AV rated (9 out of 10 they are not) or that the attorney referred to you thru Pre-Paid Legal won't take both you and your money for a ride (that ends up costing you more money, more legal problems and headaches or even worse, costing you your legal rights and/or case or both)! What people do not realize, Pre-Paid Legal only requires its attorneys (who is registered with them) to provide the area of law they work in, have a State Bar license, and an Open for Business shingle on their door.
If you enroll in Pre-Paid Legal, they take your money, and refer you to an attorney on their referral list, and if you should encounter problems, you'll quickly discover you're all by yourself! They will not intervene! They'll also keep taking your money while putting you on a conflict of interest list where they will not refer you to anyone else nor speak with you! They won't inform you of this either! What happens, you'll find yourself making one circle after the other and chasing your tail and getting nowhere very quick! You won't realize it, but they black ball you in their system!
Here are hidden secrets Pre-Paid Legal does not want you to know. Every State has a State Bar (located in its capitol city). Every State Bar has a FREE lawyer referral service. If you get a referral through the State Bar, it is a normal standard practice that the first consultation is FREE (you also get FREE legal advice in these meetings just be sure to write all your questions down prior to setting an appointment). Also, in personal injury cases (and some other type cases) I've never known an attorney anywhere that charges a consultation fee or retainer fees (if they do, then you don't want that attorney), because they do things on a contingency fee basis (meaning they only collect money if you get money from your case).
Here are more hidden secrets. Every State has some form of fee-reduced programs and pro bono programs (free lawyer) depending on your financial status and ability to pay. Every State has some form of volunteer lawyer services that provides FREE legal advice to individuals who call over the telephone (their telephone numbers can usually be obtained thru shelters (either homeless or abused individuals), United Way, law schools, the State Bar, local Bar associations, 2-1-1 if your State has that service you just have to ask). I've also found in both large metropolitan and rural areas, that if something happened after hours and it cannot wait (e.g., accidents or you're arrested) there's attorneys listed in the telephone book yellow pages who provide 24-hour services (they'll either provide you legal services or at the very least provide FREE legal advice if not both).
Want to know what the difference is between attorneys referred to you by Pre-Paid Legal and attorneys referred by the State Bar? The COST! Pre-Paid Legal charges a monthly fee of nearly $30.00 (or $360.00 per year) whether you use them or not while the State Bar is absolutely FREE! Pre-Paid Legal referred attorneys and FREE State Bar referred attorneys are both listed with the State Bar lawyer referral service. With BOTH referral services you get access to the SAME attorneys! Do a little investigating and you'll discover Pre-Paid Legal attorneys are listed with every existing legal referral service (fee based or free). Attorneys do not advertise this! They don't want you to know this! All attorneys (with the exception of large corporate law firms) livelihoods depend on referral services it's key to whether or not their door stays open or closes. It's much easier to gain clients thru referral services then their having to stand out on the street corner begging for business or investing in high advertising costs that is not a guarantee to find them clients!
The term pre-paid is deceptive. The term pre-paid leads you to believe that your money payments guarantees you an attorney if you pay the monthly fees if or when you need an attorney and that you won't have to pay the same rate as a State Bar referred attorney or won't have to pay either a retainer or hourly fee rate. This is their deception! It's up to you whether or not you want to pay money for a referral service that gives you the same attorney(s) you can get for FREE!
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Prepaid Legal Services