The September 2012 issue of Consumer Reports magazine includes an article that examines legal websites LegalZoom, Nolo and Rocket Lawyer (Legal DIY websites are no match for a pro). The article’s conclusions and recommendations:
- “Using any of the three services is generally better than drafting the documents yourself without legal training or not having them at all. But unless your needs are simple…none of the will-writing products is likely to entirely meet your needs. And in some cases, the other documents aren?t specific enough or contain language that could lead to ‘an unintended result’….”
- “The sites offer basic legal advice that might help save you money spent on a lawyer. If you use them for document prep, at minimum get all needed signatures to preserve your rights and prevent disputes….”
- “But many consumers are better off consulting a lawyer. The websites let you search for one and provide such information as education, background, and licenses…. We recommend checking with your state bar association for any disciplinary actions.”
As concerns finding lawyers online, a resource not among the legal websites mentioned by Consumer Reports is Avvo, which has a comprehensive database of lawyers in all states, frequently including information about qualifications and practice areas.
Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law +1 510 547-0545 dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer directly.
Update (November 17, 2010): I have decided to start identifying by name providers of corporate and LLC online formation services 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.
Update (April 27, 2011): I had a cordial conversation this afternoon with Rocket Lawyer’s VP of Sales & Business Development. He acknowledged that, last year, Rocket Lawyer was using a filing service (filing operations are outsourced) that did not meet the company’s expectations. He reported that the current filing service is performing at a much higher level and that Rocket Lawyer is paying closer attention to ongoing support of its customers.
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Almost a year ago, I suggested (in Can I form an LLC without a lawyer?) that entrepreneurs seeking to save money when forming a limited liability company would be better off buying a book from Nolo than using an online LLC formation service. I now believe that more than ever.