Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc.


Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc.

Infobox Company
company_name = Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc.
company_
company_type = Public (NYSE|PPD)
foundation = 1972
location = Ada, Oklahoma
key_people = Harland Stonecipher (founder, CEO, chairman)
industry = Multi-level marketing Pre-paid legal services
products = Family Plan (Standard and Expanded), Business Owners Legal Solutions Plan, Law Officers Legal Plan, Commercial Drivers Legal Plan, Legal Plan for the Self-Employed, Identity Theft Shield, Legal Shield Rider, Home-Based Business Rider
revenue = $461M
operating_income =
net_income =
num_employees = 813 Full Time
homepage = [http://www.prepaidlegal.com/ www.prepaidlegal.com]

Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. develops, underwrites and markets legal service plans through a network of more than 50 independent law firms across the U.S. and Canada. The plans provide for legal service benefits, including unlimited attorney consultation, letter writing, document preparation and review, will preparation, traffic violation defense, automobile-related criminal charges defense and a general trial defense. The Company also markets an identity theft monitoring and restoration product. The company is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker symbol PPD. Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. is a member of the S&P 600 SmallCap index and the S&P 1500 Super Comp index.

History

Pre-Paid Legal Services began on July 11, 1969 when CEO and founder Harland C. Stonecipher was involved in a vehicle accident which left him with legal bills. He began researching the industry of European legal expense plans. On August 8, 1972, Harland Stonecipher created Pre-Paid Legal’s predecessor, The Sportsman’s Motor Club, offering legal expense reimbursement services as a motor service club. Pre-Paid Legal started selling plans through network marketing in 1983. Pre-Paid Legal went public on the NASDAQ National Market System in 1984, and two years later moved to the American Stock Exchange. On May 13, 1999, Pre-Paid Legal moved to the New York Stock Exchange, and within four months was listed as the 33rd fastest growing company on the NYSE, according to Equities Magazine.

In 2000, Pre-Paid Legal made the Forbes list of the 200 Best Small Companies in America for the fifth year in a row. In 2007, Pre-Paid Legal made the Forbes list of the 200 Best Small Companies in America again. The company currently provides services in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and four provinces in Canada, with over 1.5 million members. Currently most plans are sold through the network marketing system (also known as multi-level marketing). It is also sold as an employee benefit through payroll deduction.

On September 29, 2007, CourtTV ran a 30 minute segment entitled "Accessing the Promise" which featured former Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore presenting information about Pre-Paid Legal's family plan.

Products

Legal Plans

Plans are sold by independent associates and can be purchased either by a one-on-one basis or in a group setting as the plans may be provided as an employee benefit. All plans are non-contractual and may be purchased on a monthly, semiannual, or annual basis.

Plans provide preventive legal services, which include telephone consultation on unlimited personal legal issues, document and contract review, and will preparation (with yearly updates). The Standard Legal Plan also provides motor vehicle services, trial defense, IRS audit assistance, and a 25% preferred member discount on any other legal issue. The exact coverages vary from state to state (or province to province) depending on local laws, and fees are adjusted according to the services provided in each state.

The company offers several riders which can be added to the basic plan for an additional fee, including the Legal Shield, which provides 24-hour access to an attorney in the event the member is detained or arrested, is seriously injured in an automobile accident, is served with a warrant, or if authorities attempt to remove the member's child(ren) from their custody; and the Home Based Business Rider, which provides services such as debt collection letters and an account with [http://www.GoSmallBiz.com GoSmallBiz.com] , a service designed to help expand, manage, and grow the client's own business.

The company also markets several specialty plans, standalone prodcts designed to meet specific legal needs. Specialty Plans for business owners include the Small Business Legal Plan (1 to 50 employees), the Medium Business Legal Plan (51 to 99 employees), and the Legal Plan for the Self Employed. There are also the Legal Officer's Plan, the Foster Parent Legal Plan, the Commercial Driver Legal Plan, and the iPlan.

Identity Theft Shield

In 2003, Pre-Paid Legal entered into a joint marketing agreement with risk-consulting company Kroll, Inc., to market Kroll's Identity Theft Shield to consumers. Kroll had previously only developed products for large corporations, and did not have a sales force geared towards indiviuals. The Identity Theft Shield provides a credit report upon enrollment; thereafter, the member's credit report is monitored on a daily basis, with activity notices being sent to the member either by email, postal mail, or phone. In the event an identity theft occurs while the member is enrolled, Kroll provides identity restoration service via a limited power of attorney. The Identity Theft Shield may be purchased alongside a legal plan, or as a standalone product. Unlike the legal plans, which require associates to hold insurance licenses in some states, the Identity Theft Shield is considered a service product in all states and provinces in which they are offered. For this reason, new associates operating in a so-called "license state" may sell only the Identity Theft Shield until they obtain their license from the state's Department of Insurance.

The Pre-Paid Legal Advisory Council

Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc created an Advisory Council of four legal professionals with a wide range of experience in law and business. “The Pre-Paid Legal Advisory Council provides seasoned professional guidance and advice.” - Harland Stonecipher, Founder, Chairman, CEO

Mike Moore was the Attorney General of Mississippi from 1988 to 2004. Mr. Moore filed the first lawsuit against 13 tobacco companies, in which he won the largest settlement ever in the world; $246 billion dollars. The Michael Mann-directed film "The Insider" (starring Al Pacino and Russell Crowe) portrays some of the events leading up to this settlement, and Moore appears in the film as himself in several scenes.

Grant Woods was the Attorney General of Arizona from 1991 to 1999. He was selected by his fellow Attorneys General as the nation’s top Attorney General in 1995. He chaired the Civil Rights and Supreme Court committees for the National Association of Attorneys General. He was President of the Conference of Western Attorneys General. Mr. Woods founded the Mesa Education Foundation, the Mesa Boys & Girls Club, and the Mesa Arts Academy. Mr. Woods was a principal architect and negotiator in the states' lawsuits against tobacco companies.

Andrew Miller was the Attorney General of Virginia from 1970 to 1977. He is currently active in the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), the Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG), the Democratic Attorneys General Association (DAGA), and also the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA). Mr. Miller was selected as Chairman of the Southern Conference of Attorneys General, Chairman of NAAG's Antitrust Committee, and a member of NAAG's Executive Committee. He was the recipient of NAAG's Wyman Memorial Award. He established the John Marshall Foundation and was its first president.

Duke R. Ligon is Strategic Advisor for Loves, Inc. He has worked for the U.S. Departments of the Interior and Treasury and the Department of Energy in various positions. Mr. Ligon was a captain in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and was awarded a Bronze Star. Mr. Ligon is a member of the American Bar Association, Oklahoma Bar Association, District of Columbia Bar Association, the Advisory Board of the International and Comparative Law Center of the Southwestern Legal Foundation, and serves on the University of Texas Law School's Foundation Board. He served on two board committees of the New York City Metropolitan Museum of Art, the board of directors of the Seminole Nation Museum, the Friends and Advisory Group of the National Association of Episcopal Schools, Friends of the New York Public Library, the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Oklahoma City Art Museum, and the Oklahoma City Petroleum Club.

Criticism

Pre-Paid Legal has come under fire by both former members and legal authorities, charging fraud, deception, and accounting irregularities.

* In 2001, the Wyoming Attorney General classified Pre-Paid Legal as a "multi-level marketing" organization and won refunds for multiple customers who were defrauded.Fact|date=May 2008
* Some criticisms in Mississippi may have been void by Pre-Paid Legal, Inc. victories in court; US Chamber of Commerce claims Pre-paid Legal, Inc. had been unfairly sued and case was dismissed in court.Fact|date=May 2008

News

* [http://www.shareholder.com/ppd/ReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=205436 Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. and CEO Harland Stonecipher recognized for drawing "Line in Sand" against frivolous lawsuits]
* [http://www.shareholder.com/ppd/ReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=82884 Harland Stonecipher named E&Y Southwest Master Entrepreneur of the Year]
* [http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2008/01/29/law-blog-lawyer-of-the-day-joseph-romito/ Pre-Paid Legal Provider Lawyer Featured on Wall Street Journal's Law Blog]
* [http://wserver0.prepaidlegal.com/html/blast_litigation.html Litigation Update]

References


*cite web | last = Smith | first = Melissa | author = Melissa Smith| title = Pre-Paid Weathers Guilty Verdict| publisher = thestreet.com | url = http://www.thestreet.com/_yahoo/stocks/melissadavid/10209942.html?cm_ven=YAHOO&cm_cat=FREE&cm_ite=NA| accessdate = 2002-02-22
*cite web | last = MacMillan | first = Hoke | author = Aty. Gen. Hoke MacMillan| title = Attorney General’s Office Nets Refunds From Multi-Level Marketer| publisher = attorneygeneral.state.wy.us | url = http://attorneygeneral.state.wy.us/CPU1PR113001.pdf| accessdate = 2001-11-30
* Rozett, Lisa. https://wsecure.prepaidlegal.com/pdf/usachamber.pdf . US Chamber of Commerce Retrieved on 2007/05/21.
*cite web | author = Forbes| title = Forbes 2007 Best 200 Companies in America | publisher = Forbes.com | url = http://www.forbes.com/lists/2007/23/biz_07200best_Pre-Paid-Legal-Services_OPJR.html | accessdate = 2007-10-11
*cite web | author = Pre-Paid Legal| title = Pre-Paid Legal Advisory Council | publisher = PrepaidLegal.com | url = http://wserver0.prepaidlegal.com/newCorp2/about_us/advisory_council.html | accessdate = 2007-12-31
*cite web | last = Corsi | first = Jerome | author = Jerome R. Corsi, (Ph.D. Harvard University)
title = Prepaid Legal: From A Novelty to An Accepted Insurance Marketing Opportunity
publisher = Broker World | url = http://wserver0.prepaidlegal.com/pdf/30703_article.pdf
accessdate = 2003-01-03

*http://www.shareholder.com/ppd/ReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=205437
*http://wserver0.prepaidlegal.com/newCorp2/about_us/advisory_council.html

External links

* [http://www.prepaidlegal.com/ Prepaid Legal Official Website]
* [http://www.cbc.ca/consumers/market/files/money/prepaidlegal/ CBC News report about Pre-Paid Legal]
* [http://www.mediamoogle.com/ Site with links to both pro and con articles about Pre-Paid Legal]
* [http://www.aplsi.org American Prepaid Legal Service Institute - Founded by the American Bar Association (ABA)]
* [http://www.uschamber.com/press/releases/2005/june/05-109.htm U.S Chamber Reappoints Harland Stonecipher, CEO of Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc., to Board of Directors]


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