What is GLSA? Group Legal Services Association (GLSA), an affiliate of the American Bar Association, is a professional membership organization representing the legal services plan industry—or legal contract industry, as it is referred to in some states. You may recognize us by our previous name: American Prepaid Legal Services Institute, or API. The GLSA is committed to providing individuals, plans, unions, employers, and provider attorneys with access to information involving all phases of the legal plan industry.
So why should you be interested in the GLSA? GLSA membership is not limited to attorneys, but involves legal plan sponsors, union plan trustees and administrators, legal industry marketers, insurers and brokers, and well as attorney providers. As a provider attorney, you have access to all the legal plan administrators throughout the nation. You also have the latest information concerning changes in the industry and any new opportunities that legal plans may have occurring in your city and state—all of which can equate to growth potential for your practice.
Let me tell you about my experience with GLSA. My first experience with API was in Houston when I came across the API at my old law school. I found out about the API conference by accident through a friend in Florida, who suggested I attend. I signed up that week for the miniconference. Most everyone attending had been a panel member of different legal plans for years, and everyone attending was a GP Solo lawyer of some kind practicing criminal, family, bankruptcy, will, or probate. This was a great networking opportunity for me, and I felt my calling with this group. I was told at the conference that I could sign up with many of these legal plans through API and get free referrals from the plans.
So I joined API the same day and immediately signed up for a committee as I knew this was a way to expand my practice with no marketing expense—as the legal plans sent referrals to me—and increase my bottom line and at the same time make new friends. I joined for the same reason anyone joins a bar section. I also attended the next API conference in Washington, DC, where I had the opportunity to lobby with legal plan administrators who were members of the association for more business. Through my affiliation with GLSA, my legal plan business began to grow. It wasn’t an immediate bonanza, but instead, it grew gradually. I can proudly say that I’m making more money now from the six plans that I joined through the GLSA then I did spending thousands of marketing dollars on the business I did before.
I was also able to build personal connections with the plan leaders that have billed me as a true leader in this legal plan industry. I have served as a board member for five years and now serve as the president. As a board member of the GLSA, I have had the opportunity to build true friendships with some of the sharpest lawyers and leaders in this industry. Plus with the increased partnership between GLSA and GPSolo, I have had the added benefit of drawing on the talents and knowledge of the GPSolo members of the ABA.
How Did the Partnership Between GLSA and GPSolo Begin?
Two years ago, GLSA organized an industry development summit of all the players of the legal plan industry to determine how to advance access to legal services in this country. This summit was conducted at the same time at the GPSolo Fall Meeting in Denver, Colorado, and members of GPSolo attended the summit. The summit allowed us to collectively find creative approaches to solving the lack of access to legal services for the middle-class people in this country.
Here is where the fit for GPSolo and GLSA became relevant for me. My Texas GPSolo bar section sometimes describes the GPSolo Division as the voice for the “little guy.” This notion also encompasses taking care of personal legal issues for middle-class Americans. Legal plans are founded on the notion of paying attorneys to handle personal legal everyday issues for middle class Americans. This may range from traffic tickets to criminal issues. Legal plans also cover personal issues like bankruptcy, divorce, and probate—all of which are issues the “little guy” deals with every day—making both GP Solo and GLSA relevant for Americans all across this county.
So join the GLSA: besides networking and meeting new leaders in this industry, new members have access to the multiple legal plans through the Universal Application porthole—which means you can fill out one application to sign up for several national plans immediately. Membership also provides discounts on GLSA publications and for services provided by our partners, such as the monthly delivery of the GLSA News Brief and the legal plan industry newsletter as well as access to the Regulation Reporter Service to track regulatory development in each state and jurisdiction.
Finally, the most important benefit is the upcoming Annual Conference held this year in conjunction with the GPSolo Spring Meeting. At this conference GLSA and GPSolo are excited to bring members and nonmembers the latest trends in the legal plan industry, as well as give the greatest opportunity to network with their peers, earn relevant CLE in their fields, and meet with the decision makers who can help send them business.