When you purchase legal services/documents on the Web, be an informed
consumer. You have a great deal at stake when you execute a will, create a
corporation or a limited liability company, or apply for a trademark. A small
mistake can render your entire document invalid.
If you've been watching cable TV lately, you can't miss Attorney Robert Shapiro, of O.J. Simpson fame claiming that using LegalZoom.com™ to generate your legal documents will save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars vs. using an attorney, and "We put the law on your side."
What is LegalZoom™ really? Click here to see a side-by-side comparison.
- LegalZoom.com™ is basically a high-priced legal forms Web site, although they called themselves a "legal document preparation service."
- What is their "legal document preparation service?" It is merely a paralegal taking the data that you provide over the Web, typing it into a form, and providing what LegalZoom.com™ calls a "professional review" of your legal forms.
While LegalZoom.com™ claims that every legal document undergoes a "professional review", in the United States, only lawyers are permitted to provide legal advice to clients.
- A non-lawyer or paralegal document preparation company cannot tell you if your answers are correct. If they did, they would be applying the law to your individual situation and would be engaging in what's known as the "unauthorized practice of law" in every state in the U.S.
- LegalZoom.com™'s "professional review" is limited to making sure you spelled your name correctly; used proper capitalization; have answered every question in the online questionnaire; and completed every form.
- From a legal point of view, it can be no more than that or LegalZoom.com™ would actually be practicing law.
- What you get at the end of the day is a legal form, with no legal advice or lawyer review.
You are paying a very high price for legal forms that you can often find for free on the Internet, on sites like this Web site. If all you want and need is a legal form, why pay LegalZoom™ prices for what is, in reality, no more than a legal forms service?
It is not a fair comparison to say that using LegalZoom.com™ can save you thousands of dollars over using an attorney. This is like comparing apples and oranges.
- Lawyers stand behind their work and make sure that the form/document is accurate;
- Lawyers will provide you with legal advice and analysis if your circumstances are slightly different from the standard situation. There are a myriad of situations where a little bit of legal advice will keep you out of trouble. Sometimes the smallest mistake will render your legal document invalid.
- LegalZoom.com™ cannot advise you on any of these issues. When you buy a form/document from them, you are buying it "as is" -- with no warranty that it is good for anything or even that it is correct in your jurisdiction.
Unbundled Legal Services
Previously, law firms have resisted offering "unbundled legal services." The term "unbundled" legal services means that the client purchases only the legal services they need, and no more. Times have changed. The DirectLawConnect.com network of virtual law firms now offers legal forms bundled with legal advice for a fixed fee. The fees charged by a DirectLawConnect.com virtual law firm may be lower than LegalZoom™'s fee or slightly higher. But when you use an attorney, you are getting much more value for your money because a true legal service is included and can make a difference in the outcome and make sure you obtain a legal solution that you fits your particular situation.
Compare DirectLawConnect.com™ to LegalZoom.com™
Compare the difference between a paralegal documentation preparation web site, and a law firm with a virtual law practice:
|Features & Benefits||DirectLawConnect.com™ Virtual Law Firm||LegalZoom.com™|
|Legal Advice Included||Yes||No|
|Malpractice Insurance - Law Firm Accountability||Yes||No|
|Pricing and Fees||Same as LegalZoom™ or slightly higher.||Over priced for what you get.|
|Conforms to Bar Ethics Rules||Yes||No|
|Licensed and regulated by a State Bar||Yes||No|
|Confirms to American Bar Association "Best Practices Guidelines"||Yes||No|
|Required to Check for Conflicts of Interest||Yes||No|
|Required to Adhere to State Bar Confidentiality Requirements||Yes||No|
|Utilizes State of the Art Document Automation Technology To Save You Money.||Yes||No|
|Custom Drafting of Documents||Yes||No|
|Option for Full service Legal Representation if Necessary||Yes||No|