New LegalShield CEO Talks ‘Equal Access to Equal Justice’

Justice

Equal access to equal justice—it’s nearly unimaginable in many countries, and it’s what attracted new chief executive Jeff Bell to LegalShield. Bell joined the legal services provider this month following the three-year tenure of Rip Mason, who now serves as Executive Chairman of the Board.

At first, Bell told DSN in an interview, he deemed the company’s $20-a-month prepaid legal plan too good to be true. Across North America, LegalShield employs over a thousand lawyers dedicated solely to serving its members. The Ada, Oklahoma-based company also retains 6,000 referred attorneys who can take on member cases. Unlike many of its competitors, who vie for spots on various rosters of providers, LegalShield takes its plans directly to consumers through a network of Sales Associates.

Jeff Bell

Jeff Bell

In a July LegalShield survey of more than 500 Americans, 30 percent of adults reported facing an issue where legal services should have been enlisted but were not. Nearly half (44 percent) stated that hiring a lawyer is intimidating. People need access to simple, affordable legal services, notes Bell, but they also need someone to walk them through the details. That’s where the company’s Sales Associates come in.

“LegalShield is a beautifully disruptive model in an age where products and services, as well as opportunities like direct sales, are changing the way Americans do business and interact in the marketplace,” says Bell.

Though new to direct selling, Bell has honed his marketing and leadership skills at brands like Ford, Microsoft, Chrysler and NBCUniversal. As Vice President of DaimlerChrysler’s Jeep and Chrysler Divisions, Bell launched the Chrysler 300 and marketing initiatives that included the Dodge “Grab Life by the Horns” campaign. During Bell’s tenure at DaimlerChrysler, Advertising Age named him “Interactive Marketer of the Year” in 2005. In the role of Corporate Vice President, Global Marketing, for Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business (Xbox), Bell received the Advertising Age “Entertainment Marketer of the Year” title in 2007.

His decision to join LegalShield, Bell says, hinged on the integrity of the product itself—universal access to quality law firms without the high hourly costs. The company has a salesforce over 100,000-strong, ranging from full-time Associates to those seeking a supplemental income, and serves well over 1.5 million members. “My question,” Bell submits, “is why don’t we have 15 million?”

For someone who led Xbox to its first profitable year ever and managed a growth spurt that took Xbox LIVE from 4 million to 12 million members in just two years, it’s not a flippant question. Bell is also quick to point out that he is building upon a solid foundation at LegalShield.

“I have nothing but the most profound respect for the sales organization that has been developed, and the founders and co-founders of this incredible business,” he shares.

Making quality legal services accessible to all is, as Bell describes it, a rare opportunity to do well while also doing good. “We have a chance to create a better future and better opportunities for the next generation, and that’s what motivates us.”

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