Founded in 1999 by Brian Lee and Eddie Hartman, with its headquarters in Glendale CA, LegalZoom is the country’s oldest and most recognized name in law, catering mainly towards small businesses and families that need legal solutions as an alternative to the traditional law firm.
With access to accredited attorneys and using cutting-edge technology, LegalZoom has been able to provide affordable and high quality legal services to millions of clients in resolving their legal problems, and not to the just wealthy.
Some of the range of options which LegalZoom can help you with are:
- Limited Liability Company: the simplest way to structure your business to protect personal assets.
- Partnership company.
- File a trademark application.
- Form a corporation: issue shares, go public or go as a corporation.
- Make a will.
- Create a living trust.
- File for bankruptcy.
- Speak to a lawyer.
- Power of Attorney
- Prenuptial agreement.
- Patent protection: protect your name, logo or slogan so others can’t misuse it.
- Real estate.
Since customer satisfaction is the motto at LegalZoom, they either provide a refund or offer credit that can be utilized for future legal zoom orders, in case services provided are not up to the mark within 60 days of your purchase. None of the competitors have such a guarantee, nor give such a long time to reverse a decision.
Savings: LegalZoom vs Legal services
Startups or new businesses that don’t have access to in-house lawyers, seek companies who offer legal services like LegalZoom, to ensure compliance with legal matters in their startup process. These packages are often bundled together to make it more affordable for the business owner. LegalZoom offers three packages for LLC formation:
Economy: $79+$50 CO filing fee. 30 days
Standard: $329+$50 CO filing fee. 15
business days turnaround.
Express Gold:$349+$50 CO filing fee.
7-10 days turnaround.
LLC:. $159 per year
Legal forms: Single $14.95. Unlimited
access to library $7.99 per
Trademark : $198+ federal filing fees.
Copyright:. $114+ federal filing fees.
Patent. :. $199+federal filing fees.
Add-ons come at an additional cost. If you are running against a deadline expedited costs are an additional $220. That said, while a traditional lawyer will charge anything up to $300 per hour for legal advice, the Business Advisory Plan(BAP) can provide you access to first-rate legal advice, while you sit comfortably in your home, for as little as $40 per month. Fortunately LegalZoom gives all pricing details on their website very clearly, so you know what you are getting for what you pay for.
LegalZoom may not be a more affordable option than traditional law firms, in spite of having many knowledgeable lawyers on their panel. Though they charge an hourly rate, enrolling in one of their comprehensive business legal plan bundles can save you a lot of money in the long run, especially if you are in need of frequent legal consultation.
Online legal services or hiring a local lawyer: what’s better?
When you look for legal opinions you have the option of hiring a local lawyer or resorting to an online legal service like LegalZoom for advice. Whether you are better off in a face to face meeting or virtual interaction, the reasons are spelt out below. Online providers may use attorneys to assist in your document preparation, but they are NOT you attorneys. Hence since no client-attorney relationship is established by using the site.
In most situations, a personal meeting with your preferred lawyer will give you a better result. While LegalZoom gives you the option to speak to an attorney, the experience is not the same as sitting in the office of a law firm. Moreover, LegalZoom explicitly states in their disclaimer, that they are not a law firm, or a substitute for a law firm.
Another crucial factor in this line is trust. When you are in need of important legal advice for your business or even for other personal reasons, it is crucial that you trust the person you are taking advice from. Having said that, to create such a bond, an in-person interaction is essential. Additionally, speaking face to face will give you a much better understanding of the sincerity of the person you are talking with.
When you are starting a new business, you may be inclined towards using the services of a lawyer, who is aware of the local laws and understands the business you are planning to run. This is because local rules change from time to time, and on the spot advice becomes of paramount importance. Moreover, a local lawyer who practices in your state will be better conservator with the legal requirements and may advise you accordingly.
Again while online services are a low cost option as compared to a law firm, most of the documents you require for your business have to be created by you. While these online forms are a great help at most times, they are no substitutes for a carefully drafted legal document which addresses all your specific needs.
To sum it up, online services just cannot offer the same services as that of a local lawyer since the implication of an improperly filled contract can be drastic for the business owner. They are however well suited for small and business entrepreneurs who need legal help but can’t afford to pay $300 per hour for hiring them.