Hall of Shame

Photo of a silver trophy, symbolizing this blog's Hall of Shame

Over the years, I have run across entity formation and legal compliance services that, for a variety of reasons, I consider inadequate or deceptive. The services, listed alphabetically below, constitute what I like to call a Hall of Shame:

  • Compliance Services – If you form a corporation, the Postal Service soon will inundate you with official-looking forms from companies offering to create or file corporate documents on your behalf. Earlier this week I rescued a client from one of these unnecessary companies, Compliance Services. Read more…
  • Corporate Business Filings – A couple of weeks ago a client emailed me with great concern. He received a letter that looked like a government demand for $225, lest a penalty of $250 be imposed by the state. It turns out that the letter was not from the state, but from Corporate Business Filings, the latest addition to my Hall of Shame. Read more…
  • FreeRegisteredAgent.com – I’ve run across another online incorporation / LLC formation service, FreeRegisteredAgent.com, with deficiencies that I must bring to readers’ attention. There now are enough of these companies that I have listed them on my new Hall of Shame page. Read more…
  • Harvard Business Services – Harvard Business Services, Inc. has joined this blog’s Hall of Shame. Prior to retaining me, one of my international clients used Harvard Business Services to form a Delaware corporation. During that process, HBS made two significant mistakes that I had to fix. Read more…
  • IncNow – Almost two years ago, I wrote about how Delaware corporations with no-par-value stock can find themselves obligated to pay extraordinarily high franchise taxes. Yesterday, a reader of this blog pointed out that IncNow, an online incorporation service, virtually lures naive customers into this tax trap. Read more…
  • Labor Compliance Office – Labor Compliance Office is one of many companies that use fear of the law and subterfuge to extract money from naive owners of small businesses. What is interesting about LCO, however, is that it focuses on compliance with labor laws rather than corporate laws. Read more…
  • Rocket Lawyer – I have decided to start identifying by name online providers who, in my opinion, have delivered inadequate service to my clients. (The clients used those providers before retaining me.) The inadequate provider referenced, below, in this post is Rocket Lawyer, which has been added to the Hall of Shame page. Read more…
  • The Company Corporation – I have not been a big fan of online incorporation and LLC formation services. (See, e.g., Forming an LLC Online: You Get What You Pay For.) However, the way a client recently was treated by one of these services, The Company Corporation, convinces me that it is time to expose their shortcomings and add them to the Hall of Shame page. Read more…

Photo credit: Fernando Mengoni via stock.xchng

13 comments

  1. This Hall of Shame is really a good idea. There are so many non-lawyer web sites that misrepresent the services they offer, and imply that their services are equivalent to a service from a law firm, when it is not. These sites state explicitly state that you can save hundreds or thousands of dollars if you avoid using an attorney, but this is like comparing apples and oranges.
    For a network of law firms that offer limited legal services at a fixed and affordable price see http://www.directlawconnect.com.
    keep up the good work!

    Keepnupbthe good work.

  2. Quora says:

    What are alternatives to a startup lawyer in the beginning phases?…

    My greatest concerns about entrepreneurs using online entity (corporation or LLC) formation services is that the entrepreneurs typically learn little, if anything, about the significance of the documents they receive and what to do with them. I believe…

  3. Quora says:

    What is the best and most efficient way of incorporating a freelance design company in the US?…

    “Best” and “ensuring everything is filed properly” (the latter mentioned in the comment) suggest using an experienced business lawyer. However, the comment also says you’re interested in “great websites or companies”. I can’t say whether any of…

  4. Quora says:

    Web-based tools and alternatives to traditional legal services?…

    I voted up Jonathan Pollard’s answer. Then I was intrigued by Contract Gurus, so I did some research. On the one hand, their About page tells you blatantly how great their attorneys are: > We composed a team of attorneys who all graduated from one of …

  5. Quora says:

    For startups incorporating in Delaware, what firms are good Registered Agents to use?…

    I agree. Because of a client’s terribly experience (Online Incorporation: It?s Time to Call Out Inadequate Providers), I added The Company Corporation to my blog’s Hall of Shame (http://danashultz.com/blog/hall-of-shame/)….

  6. Quora says:

    How fool-proof is using legalzoom to set up an LLC?…

    By and large, online services are good at filing essential formation documents with the Secretary of State. What they don’t do is provide useful guidance regarding other formation-related documents – i.e., the ones that are meaningful on an ongoing ba…

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