My favorite aspect of practicing law is teaching legal concepts to my clients. My mother was an elementary school teacher, my father was a school principal, and my grandfather taught Czech at the Defense Language Institute. Clearly, teaching is in my blood. At one time, I considered getting a Ph.D. in English literature and teaching at the college level until I became interested in the law. I ended up using my teaching skills in a different application through my law practice.
Attorneys are problem-solvers: the client has a need and we are tasked with identifying, analyzing, and addressing that need. Part of that task is explaining to the client the legal concepts and options available and the pros and cons of each option. The attorney shouldn’t over-explain by using too much legal jargon and technical law-school-level detail that will just confuse the client. At the same time, the attorney also needs to eschew under-explaining, thereby not letting the client participate in any of the decision-making – essentially telling the client that the concepts are too difficult to understand and insisting that the client blindly trust the attorney’s decisions.
It is often difficult for attorneys to reach that happy medium between over-explaining and under-explaining. From the early days of my practice, I would jump up to the white board during client meetings and illustrate various legal concepts and options. Clients often responded positively to this visual approach and I ended up organically developing short vignettes of about five to ten minutes in length about a variety of legal topics. Over the years, I refined these sketches as I used them over and over again with new clients. I discovered the perfect balance between too much and too little information about legal topics in order for my clients to generally understand the concepts and be comfortable with their options and choices.
In an effort to share these vignettes with a wider audience, several years ago I hired a videographer to film my white board presentations. I uploaded about ten videos to Youtube and to my law firm website. This feature became a useful tool. Sometimes clients would watch the videos prior to meeting with me in order to prepare for our meeting. Other times clients would watch the videos after our meeting to refresh their minds about the various options and concepts that I discussed with them. In addition, clients would share these videos with their children and other family members to discuss the design of their estate plan. Professional colleagues such as financial planners and tax preparers shared the videos with their own clients in order to encourage them to draft or update their estate planning.
Because the videos are on Youtube, I started getting calls from around the country from people who watched my videos and wondered if I could help them. Since I am only licensed to practice law in California, I have to turn down most of these requests. However, the popularity of my legal videos made me realize that there is a need for straight-forward explanations of basic legal principles that are accessible and easy-to-understand. As a result, I recently launched a new company, Lawyer Playbook, LLC, that features a website, lawyerplaybook.com.
I re-shot my legal videos using graphics instead of my whiteboard handwriting and uploaded the new videos on lawyerplaybook.com as well as Youtube. Currently I have five updated legal videos on my website with seven more that have been filmed and are in the process of being edited. I have ideas for many more topics for videos with plans to eventually expand into other areas of the law besides estate planning. I am also working on creating a legal directory on the website where other attorneys from around the country can advertise their services. In the future, when I get a call from a potential client in another state, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to refer the caller to an attorney in the caller’s home state who is featured on the website.
I strongly believe that nothing replaces the need to consult an attorney who is licensed to practice law in the client’s community. The law is far too complex for “do-it-yourself” shortcuts. At the same time, it is important for basic legal concepts to be accessible to the general public. While most people realize that it is not prudent to attempt to draft legal documents themselves, they reasonably want to be able to investigate general legal concepts in basic terms in order to better to prepare them to work with their attorney of choice in accomplishing their goals. The purpose of Lawyer Playbook, LLC is to bridge that gap between the desire of the public to comprehend general legal concepts in preparation and the need to work with a local licensed attorney.
I encourage you to visit lawyerplaybook.com to watch the videos that are posted in order to get a better grasp of basic legal principles and to prepare you to work with your attorney to accomplish your goals.
KRASA LAW is located at 704-D Forest Avenue, Pacific Grove, California and Kyle may be reached at 831-920-0205831-920-0205.
Kyle is also the founder of Lawyer Playbook, LLC. For more information, please visit lawyerplaybook.com.
Disclaimer: This article is for general information only. Reading this article does not establish an attorney/client relationship. Before acting upon any of the information presented in this article, you should consult an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your community.