LegalZoom is one of the oldest players in the online legal services game, having served over 3 million customers since it was founded in 1999. It offers three main types of services for small businesses: 1) legal forms and filings, completed and submitted through LegalZoom (this is the primary service); 2) do-it-yourself legal forms; and 3) one-on-one consultations with attorneys for a flat monthly fee.
LegalZoom covers a very broad set of legal issues. While its services undoubtedly save time and money in some areas (like incorporating a business), it can quickly become a pricier option than its competitors because of aggressive upselling on the site. For example, while filing to form an LLC, users are hit with the option to buy everything from a business compliance package ($280) to an EIN ($79) to a business domain name (prices vary). These are useful services, but it makes the process of completing the LLC forms complicated and a bit overwhelming, as it’s not always clear which additional services are important (like filling your state LLC paperwork), and which are optional. A good rule of thumb for LegalZoom: It’s a good idea to be clear on what you need going in so you don’t find yourself paying high annual fees for unnecessary services.
How it works:
Legal Forms: If you’ve already formed your business and you’re just looking for templates of things like non-disclosure agreements, employment contracts, and copyright notices, Legal Zoom has a document library where you can download and customize forms created by attorneys. Documents are $5.95-$14.95 each or $7.99/month for unlimited access.
Filings: In many cases, LegalZoom won’t just provide the appropriate documents—they’ll also complete the filing for you. The most popular services include: forming an LLC, which starts at $149 (not including additional filing fees); getting an Employment Identification Number, which costs $79; maintaining an annual compliance plan, which costs $280; and trademark registration, which starts at $199.
Consultation: If you have a more complex issue or need legal advice tailored to your situation, they also offer one-on-one legal consultations (for a flat monthly fee):
- Business Advisory Plan ($31.25/a month for a year): This pre-paid plan offers year-round legal help from an attorney in your state available for one-off or regular consultations.
- Legal Advantage Plus ($9.99/month for a year): Or, you can get a pre-paid plan offering unlimited 30-minute consultations on new legal matters with a qualified attorney.
- They have an attorney directory with profiles that include schooling, experience and reviews, so you can cross-reference against a broader online search.