Prepaid Legal Plans is commonly used when referring to any legal plan. Thus, the term “prepaid legal” has become the common term used by people when referring to legal plans.
What is a Legal Plan? The legal plans vary from Company to Company, but generally speaking, it involves providing you with access to a participating attorney for select legal matters in exchange for a monthly premium. Some plans provide select services by the attorneys free of charge, while others combine this with a reduced hourly rate for certain matters. Some Companies only offer their plans through employers while others market their plans to individuals and companies.
Interestingly, there is an organization that provides a wealth of information on prepaid legal plans described below:
The American Prepaid Legal Services Institute (API) is a nonprofit organization located in Chicago . API was founded in 1976 by the American Bar Association to act as a clearinghouse and technical assistance source for the prepaid legal services industry, as well as supporting this method of delivering legal services to clients of moderate means . The API, which remains an ABA affiliated entity , also acts as a membership association for those involved in the field.
Whether legal plans are considered legal insurance is in dispute. Regardless of whether legal plans are insurance or not, the effect is the same. Members pay a monthly premium in exchange for services from attorney members of the plan.