Once upon a time, law firms used wills as a loss leader. Clients would come to a law firm for a free will and in theory, the firm would have first dibs on the more lucrative probate work when the time came. These days, free contracts are the 21st century version of free wills with lots of large law firms making corporate documents, term sheet generators and other types of documents freely available, reports Tech Crunch. Only today we’d call them lead generators and not loss leaders because they bring clients to us.
Free law firm contract offerings aren’t new; I blogged about big law free platforms like this over five years ago. What is new is that law firm free now faces competition, the Tech Crunch story continues. That’s because entrepreneurs can also find free contracts at sites like Docracy, Clerky or Shake which likewise offer free tools. In fact, why even bother to pay $99 for a contract from Legal Zoom when they’re free?
Small firms don’t necessarily have the resources to make contracts (beyond basic form agreements) freely available. Moreover, lots of the platforms that large firms use to implement these products are costly – it might be nice if a solo or small firm could white label an existing platform to replicate these services on a smaller scale. Or small firms could use document assembly suggests Ken Adams, to provide lower cost contracts to clients.
What’s your experience with free contracts? Does your firm offer free documents? Post comments below.