I used to hate shopping for glasses. I’d wander through a store, not sure what was in style. Worse still, it was never clear how much the lenses would cost once my new prescription was added into the mix. So I always put off getting a pair, choosing instead to stick with my out-of-date specs, even as street signs and movie screens went out of focus.
But not anymore. I just bought a new pair of glasses (pictured up there in my editor’s photo — like ’em?) at Ollie Quinn, a new store in my Toronto neighbourhood. The whole shopping experience was better. Rather than walls of expensive name-brand glasses, the store has a small selection that they design in-house based on the latest eyewear trends. As long as your prescription is fairly simple, they’re all the same, affordable price. It’s brilliant. When I walked out with my new glasses, I felt confident that I’d chosen just the right pair.
Why am I telling you this? Because I want to buy legal services the same way I bought these glasses.
As a small-business owner who runs a legal-media company — which includes Precedent Magazine, PrecedentJD and The Precedent A-List — I often need basic legal advice. If I don’t already know a lawyer who can help (and thank goodness I often do), I dread hiring one. I’m never sure where to turn. And no lawyer can ever tell me how much her services will cost. So I end up with super-deluxe, super-customized advice I can’t afford. Sometimes, I avoid going to a lawyer at all and just hope for the best.
Remember how my glasses have a pretty simple prescription, so I can buy them in a simple, affordable way? Well, my legal needs are basic, too: employee contracts, trademark applications, lease negotiations. But no one is selling me legal services in a simple and affordable way.
This brings us to the million-dollar question we pose in our cover story, “Think there are too many lawyers?” A lot of people, maybe even you, think the answer is yes. But from where I sit, often with no lawyer to call when I need one, the answer is no. Sure, the market for traditional law jobs is tight, but plenty of people need legal help — for example, in family, estate and small-business law — but can’t afford name-brand prices. It’s absurd to claim there are too many lawyers when so many people need one.
I guarantee that if, once you’re a lawyer, you come up with a better way to deliver legal services to regular people, you will land clients. In fact, once you’ve been called, come see me. I’ll be sporting great glasses and looking for a lawyer like you.
Publisher & Editor