Before you decide to join a plan, evaluate your legal needs, then decide what plan meets them best.

You probably don’t need to join a plan at all if you rarely need legal help or advice or if you already have a lawyer you trust, who’s usually available and who charges reasonable prices.

Take time to read carefully the terms of the plan agreements you receive. Check who is covered, what services are provided, the cost of the plan and the geo-graphic limitations.

Some questions to ask:

  • How long has the plan been in operation?
  • How many lawyers participate? Are the panels open or closed?
  • Can you switch lawyers if you’re unhappy with the one you get? How difficult is that to do?
  • How many members does the plan have?
  • Does the plan include a system for handling members’ complaints?
  • Does it allow you to evaluate the services?
  • What happens if the plan goes out of business? Do you get a refund?
  • What references can the plan furnish? (Be sure to check the references for their experiences with the plan.)