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Prepaid Legal Services: The Long and the Short of It

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ID-100129847Many of the bookkeeping business owners who have completed our online MYOB training course may or may not be familiar with the Privacy Act reforms due to be enforced next year. Many businesses that collect their customers’ personal information will need to review their privacy policies and practices to ensure they’re not in breach of the Act.

But reading through and interpreting statutes can be tricky; ensuring you’re in compliance with them, even more so.

For large organisations, this is usually the responsibility of their in-house legal team or the firm they have on retainer; for small organisations, there often isn’t an in-house legal team never mind a firm on retainer.

Gaining traction in the Australian marketplace, however, is the trend of prepaying for your legal service—a trend, mind you, that’s been in existence in the US for over forty years.

Perth-based Prepaid Legal, which has been operating in Australia since 1998, provides prepaid legal services to individuals and an array of different business types, while relative newcomer, LawPath, is only available to businesses.

Prepaid legal services are a lot like private health insurance; you select, from a range of plans, one that suits you; pay a monthly premium (on average between $24 and $36 per month); and, according to the terms set out in the legal plan, you have access to one of the service’s “preferred lawyers”.

Prepaid legal services give small businesses and individuals who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it, access to legal advice for the cost of the low monthly premium.

But a prepaid legal plan doesn’t guarantee access to the same lawyer, or in some cases, even the same law firm. Instead, you’re assigned a lawyer based on their availability and the requirements of your matter.

For some businesses whose legal requirements only involve quick consultations or reviewing and preparing simple legal documents, a prepaid legal service like this could work.

Of course prepaid legal services are really only useful if you use them. As a business owner you should consider how often you would enlist the service of a lawyer throughout the course of your business day-to-day and look at what value a prepaid legal service would bring to your business.

If you are used to receiving information about our MYOB Courses you might also know that we have introduced a Small Business Course to our online training courses and in it we have a section about the legal structures a business can take.

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