Most lawyers are familiar with, and skeptical about offering mini legal services packages – which is really just a fancy name for unbundling . In other words, in contrast to a full service experience, from advice about a particular corporate entity or estate plan to drafting the plan, filing it with the Secretary or Probate Office and keeping clients updated annually (for an additional fee), an unbundled version of the service tackles a discrete portion – such as advice or drafting – with the client handling the other portions. These days, individual solos who seek to build a practice off of traditional unbundled services face a tough road, with competition from form providers like Legal Zoom or Avvo Ask where lawyers dispense 15-minute bites of advice for $39 which have the advantage of broad name recognition and volume.
But unbundling doesn’t have to be limited to low end services. Instead, you can also experiment with dispensing mini-portions of high-end legal services at a premium.
As the Harvard Business Review reports, mini-consumer products are all the rage these days due to new research known as “price pack architecture” (PPA) which allows consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies to design new product variations based on consumer demand:
A compelling example of PPA in action is the case of Coca-Cola, which sought to offset the effects of a decline in soft-drink consumption at the start of the decade. Through PPA, Coke discovered that consumers not only liked the idea of a more compact serving size (including 7.5-oz mini cans as well as 8-oz glass bottles), but were also willing to pay more per ounce for a smaller Coke than the traditional 12-oz cans or larger containers. While Coke’s annual revenues for its standard sizes fell 1%-2% from 2011-15, their mini-can counterparts registered 10%-15% increased sales through the period.
How might lawyers create higher-end unbundled legal services? Several ways. First, a lawyer could offer unbundled forms, but for an add on fee, the lawyer could also offer to review the form or answer client questions. Or instead of offering a single one-off $39/hr 15- minute call, a lawyer could sell a mini pack of book of a dozen $39 coupons good for a six-month period. The advantage of this kind of pack over an Avvo consult is that clients would speak with the same attorney each time. At the same time, the package still costs a client less than a couple of $300/hour consultations.
Between completely unbundled services and full service, lies a world of untapped variations. Consumer products companies are exploring that turf – and lawyers may want to consider it as well.