There’s so much at risk involved especially when you need legal assistance. Whether it’s required to start a business, file a trademark application, file bankruptcy, deal with a partnership dispute, make a will, review a contract, create a living trust, or to deal with any other legal issue, it’s essential to ask a legal expert urgently. That’s where a professional legal service can benefit your small business.
You will numerous online legal services where you can get help from a local attorney, legal forms and resources. Here is a detailed guide for you to select the best online legal services, along with what you need to know when selecting an online legal service for your small business.
LegalZoom (Best for Standard Legal Service)
LegalZoom is the leading provider of tailored, online legal services and documents for small businesses and families with more than 4 million users. Their range of legal services include:
- Access to self-guided legal services or work with their independent attorneys, for legal advice and document review
- To handle legal forms and filing along with formation services
- To register trademarks, copyrights, and patent applications
LegalZoom provides two monthly legal plans including “Business Advisory Plan” and “Legal Advantage Plus plan” to get legal help whenever you need it. The process is simple: all you need is to select your subscription period, schedule your consultation and discuss your legal issue.
The Business Advisory Plan is the best option for small businesses that require legal assistance on a regular basis. For instance, maybe you’re starting a business and need formation and agreements, planning to raise venture capital, or need tax advice, LegalZoom’s Business Advisory plan will serve as your business attorney.
There is a 30-minute phone consultation with a LegalZoom attorney and complete access to a variety of legal forms. They also offer annual business evaluation, unlimited document review, access to tax experts, and one copyright registration per month with no extra fee. This plan is most suitable for businesses like agencies, artists, musicians, and freelancers.
- Pioneer in the industry since 2001, and offering a one-stop-shop for all small business’s legal needs.
- Provides affordable business legal plan including a variety of features.
- Longest refund period of 60 days.
- Costly for business formation services.
- Only 30 minutes phone consultation with an attorney with an extra fee for reviewing documents over 10 pages.
Rocket Lawyer (Best for Legal Forms)
Rocket Lawyer is an ideal option for small businesses that require access to many legal forms. Their range of legal services include:
- Creation of legal documents and forms with safe & secure storage
- A network of vetted attorneys for document review and legal advice
- To handle legal forms, articles and filing along with formation services
When you seek legal help on a regular basis, they offer a membership plan that’s similar to LegalZoom’s Business Advisory Plan. The plan is a bit expensive with a monthly fee of $39.99, and get access to unlimited legal forms, get legal advice, or phone consultation with an attorney, and free first business incorporation.
Rocket Lawyer is best suited for businesses that use many different legal forms. You can also customize a business document with the help of their intuitive form builder that provides helpful pop-ups and rules in your state, being the key to making their legal forms enforceable in a court of law.
- Free 7 days trial of membership plan.
- Intuitive form builder to make your legal form complied with states laws
- Free first business incorporation for new members and document defense.
- Costly membership plan.
- Costly legal forms for non-members.
Start With Rocket Lawyer
Incfile (Best for Business Formation)
The next best legal service provider on the list is Incfile, best suited for people that need to form a business for as little as $0 + state fees.
Incfile is a go-to service provider to quickly and easily form your LLC, S-Corp, C-Corp, nonprofit or other business. It is the least expensive online legal service for business formation. They also provide free registered agent service to draft operating agreements for one year. While forming a small business, the state will require you to provide a registered agent.
Incfile is best suited to form a business with quick paperwork and legal advice you need to start a business. They only charge an extra fee for related documents like corporation bylaws ($30) or an LLC operating agreement ($40) with registered agent cost of $119 per year after first free year.
- Low-priced online legal service to form a business.
- Quick business formation especially if you have a state filing deadline, only costs $50 to expedite your business filing.
- They only provide business formation services.
- No access to unlimited legal forms or an attorney
Start With Incfile
LegalMatch (Best for Finding a Local Lawyer)
When you need a local lawyer to handle your legal issue, LegalMatch is the place to find the best local lawyer for you. All you need is to submit your “case” on LegalMatch’s website, which will then delivered to their network of pre-vetted attorneys. Once the case is inspected within a few hours, the legal service matches you with qualified, licensed lawyers near you based on your business’s location and the practice area you need help in. You can then select the lawyer based on factors like their hourly fees, client ratings, and full background information.
With the help of LegalMatch, you’re able to get local as and when needed for almost any legal issue such as patents and trademarks, criminal defense, immigration, real estate and more. Once you find a lawyer suitable for your needs, you can schedule an appointment with them to discuss your legal concerns. The price depends on the lawyers you select since they charge their own rates based on their own fee structure.
- Fast and easy way to find a locally qualified lawyer.
- Can review attorney’s ratings before choosing.
- No fixed pricing model.
- No access to unlimited legal forms.
UpCounsel (Best for Complex Legal Matters)
UpCounsel is a business law marketplace and best suited for complex legal matters. All you have to do is to post a job on the site and get offers from their network of vetted attorneys. Before hiring a lawyer, they compare various offers based on the attorney’s client ratings, full background information and area of expertise.
From small businesses to the Fortune 500 companies, all trust UpCounsel and its network of 5,000+ vetted attorneys for cost-effective and quality legal services. UpCounsel is the best option when you need to register a trademark or create an investor agreement.
It is a great option to handle complex legal issues but not preferable for matters like business incorporation or creating a standard contract. The price depends on the lawyers you select since they charge their own rates based on their own fee structure.
- A network of 5000+ highly experienced business attorneys.
- Free legal forms are available.
- Costly option to form a business (business formation cost around $500—including all filing fees).
Atrium (Best for Startups)
Atrium is a great choice for startups that are in need of online legal services. Atrium is a corporate law firm and technology company that offers quick, transparent, and affordable legal services through technology. They cover the most common legal matters such as business formation, legal document help, unlimited consultations, fundraising, employment and equity grants, commercial transactions to mergers and acquisitions. They also provide a platform where you can work with the attorneys in a secure setting.
Atrium subscriptions cover startups’ common legal needs with three levels of memberships:
- The Atrium Membership:
- A dedicated legal team and account manager
- Unlimited initial legal consultations
- One hour per month for general legal advising
- Access to the Atrium platform for legal document sharing, management, and collaboration
- Professional management of cap table software records
- Business and legal playbooks for startup growth
- Access to the Atrium startup founder community for knowledge sharing and networking
- Exclusive offers and discounts with our strategic startup partners
- GC Core:
- Atrium Membership included
- Two, four, or six hours per month for general legal advising
- Routine board management and board document preparation
- Standard hiring and employment matters
- A high-level review of contracts
- Sourcing and management of legal specialists
- Preparation and management of corporate and securities filings
- Regular updates from your legal team
- GC Growth:
- Atrium Membership included
- Work with in-house attorneys at unicorn startup or public companies
- Onsite availability of your Atrium attorney to integrate into your team
- Strategic support to build your in-house legal team and kickstart cross-functional best practices
- Personalized legal support from qualified and experts attorneys
- Easy management of legal documents and access to legal advice with an online platform.
- Much costlier than other online legal services like LegalZoom or Rocket Lawyer.
Avvo (Best for Free Advice)
Avvo offers small business free legal advice along with the right lawyer to make informed legal decisions. It’s a directory for lawyers with almost 90% authentic attorneys profiles in the Avvo’s online legal directory. It includes all the ratings, client reviews, and lawyer’s disciplinary records in every state for users to find the best one suited to their needs. It also has a free legal forum where you post a question and get answers from attorneys within a few hours.
For more personalized service, you’ll need to pay for the lawyer’s contracted fee. Though, most of them provide free initial consultation on the site.
- Biggest online legal directory with reviews for attorneys.
- Free legal Q&A forum.
- Free legal forms are available.
- Not suitable for regular, ongoing legal assistance.
Start With Avvo
Other Online Legal Services to Consider
Many other online legal providers that provide a solution to small businesses based on your specific business needs and requirements. Here is a list of other online legal services to consider:
Nolo has a free extensive repository of legal articles written by attorneys for general information with a wide range of legal topics related to small business management and operations.
With a price of $39 per month, get access to qualified attorneys that can help you with any legal issue. Another best thing about LegalShield is their debt collection service for small businesses. If you don’t get paid by your customers, LegalShield can help you with that.
The Etiquette of Using Online Legal Services
- Before selecting a lawyer, determine the lawyer’s license and full background information irrespective if it comes pre-vetted by an online legal service.
- Understand the rates and fees charged by an attorney or by an online legal services provider. That includes an additional fee for the registered agent service or fee structure of the attorney in a written fee agreement.
- Ensure the service providers’ websites follow your state laws. Every state has different laws for legal matters and not following them means your legal documents may not hold up in court.
- Your association with lawyers’ should be self-governing and not from the service provider website.
- Always see attorney ratings and reviews before working with a lawyer.
- Don’t place your choice of selecting a lawyer based on your budget solely. Instead, focus on working with a reputable legal service provider. Else, you might have to face fines or lawsuits, which you definitely don’t want to happen.
Now that you know what you need to know before choosing an online legal service in order to make a confident decision for your small business. Everything is listed from benefits to drawbacks for you to judge which option will work best for your business.