If you hired a lawyer to produce paperwork—clean up a contract, draft a motion—you’re doing it wrong. Paperwork is a byproduct. Contracts are memorials to the real work.

You should hire a lawyer who is an advisor, a strategist, and a tactician.

What lawyers really do, and where lawyers really add tremendous value, is in the guidance that helps you decide how to execute. Both over the long term and in a crisis. The contracts, motions, memos, briefs, and filings are the part of executing on that guidance that the lawyer is licensed to provide.

(One of the many reasons that we moved to a subscription model is that it allows us to provide guidance without pressure to push for solutions that only a licensed attorney can implement.)

Legal isn’t a separate category or department. Legal is global. It’s about thinking smarter and thinking bigger. It’s about doing everything right in a way that moves the company closer to its goals.

To get this kind of value from your lawyer, she needs to understand your business. She needs to understand your specific values, goals, and vision, beyond the situation at hand. That takes time. But if you’re skimping on this part to save a few bucks—if you’re just having your lawyer write contracts in a vacuum—then you’re making a mistake.

Penny wise and pound foolish.

Good solutions are informed by context. Without context you’re buying template solutions. And despite your every effort to save money, you’re overpaying when you buy template solutions. You can find them for free all across the internet.

If right now you’re thinking that your lawyer’s informed, strategic advice isn’t worth the price, get a new lawyer. Or skip the lawyer entirely and save all your money. A good lawyer should deliver more than you pay for.

There are excellent lawyers and law firms in every city who will work with you on a payment plan or extended budget. But if your primary object is to get paperwork at the lowest price, you’ll get less than you pay for because you’re using lawyers wrong.