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|Best Value||Best Ongoing Services||Best Attorney Access|
Are you looking for the best online legal services? Most entrepreneurs need professional legal help at some point, and with the rise of online services, many business owners are choosing the online route for their needs. After all, online assistance is much less expensive for basic legal needs than hiring a traditional lawyer at a law firm.
While the promise of low prices is enticing, choosing the best service for your needs can be confusing, and the consequences of improperly filed contracts and other errors can be severe for business owners.
Can you avoid paying hundreds of dollars per hour and dealing with lawyers’ busy schedules by simply using one of these online legal services? We explore these services’ legitimacy and pick our favorites based on their offerings.
- What Can I Expect From An Online Legal Service?
- What's The Difference Between An Online Legal Service And A Local Attorney?
- Online Legal Service Winners By Category
- What About BizFilings, CorpNet, FindLegalForms, FormSwift, LawDepot, MyCorporation, & US Legal Forms?
- Register Your Trademark Before It's Too Late
Most online legal services take you step by step through resolving your legal matters virtually (though some can also get you in touch with lawyers in your area). All you need to do is provide the necessary information to complete your documents; the rest is taken care of for you.
Looking through the major players in the online legal services field, you’ll find a variety of business-centric legal services, such as:
- LLC filing (view our guide to the pros and cons of an LLC)
- Doing-business-as (DBA) registration
- Corporation (C corp, S corp) registration
- Nonprofit registration
- Annual reporting
- Business licenses
- Patent filing
- Trademark registration (view our pick for the top places to register your trademark)
- Registered Agent services
Most online legal enterprises operate on either a subscription basis, where you pay a monthly fee for a set list of services, or a pay-per-service basis, where you pay a one-time fee as needed. With some legal services, you may also have direct access to an attorney, though this is typically an additional fee.
Ultimately, choosing an online legal service instead of going directly through a lawyer could save you hundreds—even thousands—of dollars.
What’s The Difference Between An Online Legal Service And A Local Attorney?
Legal advice online can save you time and money if your legal needs are basic and straightforward. What makes an online legal less expensive? It isn’t a law firm.
While online legal services are legitimate operations, you aren’t getting a client-attorney relationship when you hire them. You won’t receive personal advice for your business, and these enterprises can’t act as legal counsel. Instead, online legal services are a tool for people who want to prepare their legal documents.
Think of it like this: Instead of visiting your nearest big-box office supply store and perusing the aisle that stocks generic prepared contracts, these online legal destinations provide specialized filing templates and a user-friendly interface.
Online legal services are only a fit for some companies. You should try an online service if you have a small business (and an even smaller budget) with basic legal needs. If you’re running a large company with complicated legal needs, a law firm that provides hands-on legal work is likely the better option.
That being said, some online legal services offer attorney access for a limited time or through a full-service subscription package. For those offering a subscription, the service typically includes a consultation with an attorney in your area and personalized legal support.
Below are our picks for best value, ongoing services, and attorney access. Find out why we chose them as the top winners.
LegalZoom offers online help with business and personal legal documents, making the process painless. Prices start as low as $0, plus state filing fees. For those looking for a quick and inexpensive self-service experience, you can’t beat LegalZoom.
LegalZoom’s interface is simple and easy to follow, which makes finding the information you need effortless. Most documents take only a few minutes to fill out and are available for download or to be mailed. Choose between 150+ legal forms, including non-disclosure agreements (DNA), independent contractor agreements, and promissory notes. Other standout services include annual reports, a registered agent, intellectual property services, and tax support.
LegalZoom also offers full-service subscriptions, including access to a licensed attorney for a set period. For example, the Premium LLC package includes guidance from an experienced business attorney and unlimited 30-minute attorney consultations for the first 30 days of the subscription.
|Offers membership and à la carte services||Various pricing options can be confusing|
|Access to attorneys with subscription plans||Not all documents are viewable online|
|Good customer support options||Lots of upsells|
|BBB rating: A+|
|60-day satisfaction guarantee|
Our Personal Experience With LegalZoom
We used Legal Zoom to prepare our estate legal documents including Last Will And Testament, Pet Care Instructions & Power of Attorney. The process was simple and affordable. You select your state, and they walk you through every question that is required for each document. You can save your work and return to complete at anytime. It’s also easy to collaborate with others to fill and sign like your spouse or outside attorney. When ready to submit everything, LegalZoom checks for errors and sends to all parties to e-sign. You then have the option to get electronic or physical copies of your documents mailed to you. We opted for the additional legal advice to review them with an attorney and scheduled the consultation in a few clicks. The e-portal has all your legal documents in once place to access and view upcoming appointments, outstanding tasks, and ordering more products.
With the legal advice upgrade, you get unlimited calls with a local lawyer who will review your documents and walk through them with you via phone. They’ll point out any potential issues and answer any questions. During this period, you also get unlimited revisions to your existing documents. We found a few things that needed correcting, so I was able to update them and re-submit a few times. We scheduled another call to review the final changes with the same lawyer and feel more confident now with our last and living will and testament documents.Sadie Cornelius, Writer at We Rock Your Web and new LegalZoom customer
LegalZoom was my go to online legal service for years (for simple needs such as filing a trademark registration). That changed this past year when they redid their user interface. While the new interface looks slick, it’s become impossible for me to locate my past registrations and documents, and finding new forms that used to be easy is now a pain in the butt.Alex Schenker, Editor at We Rock Your Web and long-term LegalZoom customer
Below is the pricing information for LegalZoom business subscription plans. The prices in the table may vary depending on your state.
|6-Month Business Advisory Plan||12-Month Business Advisory Plan|
|30 Minute Consulation|
|150+ Business/Personal Legal Forms|
|1-Hour Annual Business Evaluation|
|1 Copyright Registration/Mo.|
|Legal Document Review (up to 10 pages)|
|Discounts On Professional Services & Products|
In-Depth Review Of LegalZoom
While most online legal services offer fairly standardized resources, Rocket Lawyer’s thorough membership program is the best choice for complex matters and ongoing needs. With Rocket Lawyer, you can access legal documents and attorney services, plus discounts on other professional services like tax help, trademark filing, and registered agent services. Set up your LLC, corporation, or nonprofit; create unlimited business contracts and documents; and quickly get answers to your legal questions.
With a Rocket Lawyer membership, you are entitled to:
- Unlimited legal documents, with the ability to edit, share, and print.
- Instant online signing with e-signatures.
- Free answers to endless legal questions.
- A 30-minute consultation with an in-network attorney, plus 40% off their hourly rate, if you require further legal assistance.
Nonmembers can also purchase documents and services à la carte, though these fees tend to be high. An annual subscription is a better value if you require anything beyond a couple of documents.
All customers receive step-by-step instructions from Rocket Lawyer to ensure that the paperwork is complete. Users can also create personal documents like an online will and divorce papers in addition to business services.
|Offers membership and à la carte services||Pricey à la carte options|
|Up to 40% discount for hiring a Rocket Lawyer network attorney||Users get charged automatically after the free trial|
|Free LLC for members||Limited services for non-members|
|Available in 6 countries||No weekend support|
|Free 7-day trial|
|30-day money-back guarantee|
|A+ BBB rating|
Rocket Lawyer has two options: pay for a monthly membership and get access to most legal products and services, or pay as you go. Rocket Lawyer also offers a 1-week free trial.
|Price||$39.99/mo.||à la carte|
|Free LLC for new members||$99.99 (plus state fees)|
|Discounts On Professional Services|
In Depth-Review Of Rocket Lawyer
LegalShield is ideal for people or small businesses who need to speak to a lawyer physically or may need ongoing representation. LegalShield has a network of provider law firms nationwide for your legal needs.
To begin with LegalShield, you must purchase a subscription plan. The Personal & Family plan starts at $25.99 monthly and includes a consultation, document reviews, and 25% off additional services. You can customize your plan as well, with each additional service costing $14.95 each.
Small businesses can choose between three subscription plans, ranging from $49 per month to $169 per month. All business plans include consultations and a 25% discount on your provider lawyer’s hourly rate. LegalShield also has a plan for launching your business. The Launch subscription costs $149 monthly, including LLC formation, a business name check, Federal Tax ID (EIN), and three months of legal support.
|Best for people who need direct professional legal advice (similar to having a lawyer on retainer)||Some consumer reports of poor, aggressive sales tactics|
|Affordable monthly pricing plans||Recent BBB complaints report attorneys coming unprepared to court and incorrect paperwork filings|
|25% off hourly attorney fees|
|Call back from attorney within 1 business day|
|In business for 40+ years|
|BBB rating: A+|
Below are the average prices for LegalShield’s services; however, they may vary by state.
|Small Business Legal Essentials||Small Business Legal Plus||Small Business Pro|
|Advice, Consultation, & Research By Law Firm|
|30-Minute Designated Consultations|
|MemberPerks (discounts on other brands)|
|25% Preferred Member Discount (discount for additional legal services not covered in membership)|
|Letters or Phone Calls||10 per year/up to 3 per month||20 per year/up to 5 per month||40 per year/up to 10 per month|
|Document Review||10 per year/up to 15 pages/up to 3 per month||20 per year/up to 20 pages/up to 5 per month||40 per year/up to 25 pages/up to 10 per month|
|Flat Fee Services||Trademark and Copyright (1 yearly): $500|
Employee Handbook: $750
Custom Contract Drafting (up to 25 pages): $250
|Trademark and Copyright (1 yearly): $250|
Employee Handbook: $500
Custom Contract Drafting (up to 25 pages): $250
|IRS Audit Legal Services||25 hours help, 2.5 hours representation or negotiation, 21.5 hours trial time||50 hours help, 5 hours representation or negotiation, 44 hours trial time|
|Interstate Service||Half of all letters and phone calls, advice and consultation, document review, designated consultations, and collection letters||All letters and phone calls, advice and consultation, document review, designated consultations, and collection lettes|
Best For Free Advice: Avvo
While nothing can replace the support of a dedicated lawyer, it’s also frustrating to pay for an attorney’s time only to find out that they can’t help you. Enter Avvo—a fantastic resource for general legal information from licensed attorneys. What’s better? It’s completely free. According to Avvo, someone received free legal advice from Avvo every five seconds.
You only need to fill out Avvo’s online form to submit a question through Avvo. Provide the necessary details, select your location, and submit. Questions are free, anonymous, and typically answered within 12 hours. Remember that any answers given via Avvo’s Q&A board do not constitute a legal attorney-client relationship, so answers are limited to general legal advice.
If you decide to hire a lawyer, Avvo’s directory allows you to find attorneys in your area. You can also directly contact the lawyer who answered your original question.
|Submit a question and get advice from one or more attorneys||Any question submitted can be seen by the public|
|Ask follow-up questions for free||Lots of ads for lawyers in your area|
|Browse all Q&A|
|Articles written by lawyers covering various legal topics|
|Lawyer directory by practice, city, and state|
Avvo is a free service.
Best For New Business: ZenBusiness
If you’re ready to start your business and are on a budget, ZenBusiness helps you set up your business entirely free (excluding state fees). ZenBusiness’s worry-free compliance ensures that you’re notified of any filing or compliance events, plus it covers your annual report and two business amendment filings per year.
ZenBusiness also offers a wide variety of other business services, including:
- Business Planning: startup cost calculation, market research, licenses, permits, and government grants
- Branding: logo design, domain registration, website building, and business emails
- Taxes & Accounting: invoices/payments, accounting/bookkeeping, and small business tax tips
|Free LLC filing||Cost spike in second year of service|
|100% accuracy guarantee||Add-on services can be costly compared to others|
|Annual compliance included||No personal legal documents|
|Wide variety of add-on services for businesses|
|BBB rating: A|
ZenBusiness offers three LLC packages. Plans are billed annually and do not include state filing fees. ZenBusiness’s starter is free for the first year; the plan renews at $199 annually. View all plans.
|100% Accuracy Guarantee|
|Worry-Free Compliance||1 year free, then $199/year|
|Employer ID Number (EIN)||+$99|
|Business Document Templates||+$99||+$99|
|Business Website Builder||+$15/mo.||+$15/mo.|
|Domain Name With Privacy||+$35/year||+$35/year|
|Business Email Address||+$25/year||+$25/year|
What About BizFilings, CorpNet, FindLegalForms, FormSwift, LawDepot, MyCorporation, & US Legal Forms?
Some of the services below are difficult to find information on and are not as clear on what services they offer. If you have experience with these services, please share your story with us so we can update this article and help future consumers make more educated decisions.
To learn more about a service, click one of the links below or scroll down the page to learn about them all.
BizFilings focuses on helping entrepreneurs find the proper legal structure for their business. They’ll help you choose the legal entity and keep your business running from a legal perspective. Getting started with BizFilings is easy. The website’s package selection has you input your state and business type: LLC, S Corp, C Corp, nonprofit, Limited Partnership (LP), or Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). (BizFilings also offers a separate registration option for professional corporations, such as accountants, architects, dentists, and doctors.)
From there, you can choose between three package options and add on any additional services. BizFilings tallies up the cost of each add-on service, so you know exactly how much you’re spending before checkout.
|Warranty against filing errors for the life of your company||Expensive|
|3-month free register agent service with every subscription||Auto-enrollment in $220/year registered agent service with no option to opt out|
|Additional support with compliance||No personal legal documents (wills, divorces, bankruptcies, etc.)|
|Extensive online resources|
|Auto-enrollment in $220/year registered agent service with no option to opt-out|
BizFilings offers three packages for setting up a business entity: Basic, Standard, and Complete. Pricing starts at $99 and includes business name verification, preparation/filing of documents, and registered agent service. From there, select a higher-tier plan for additional compliance services.
|Package Type||Forms Your Business With The State||Includes the Tools To Keep Your Business Compliant||Fulfills Additional State & Federal Requirements|
|Price||$99 + State Fees||$229 + State Fees||$359 + State Fees|
Like BizFilings, CorpNet focuses on businesses, so you won’t find any personal legal services here. Pay per legal service or, if you’re starting your business, choose between three package options for business formation.
Documents take very little time to fill out since you complete a “form fill” page first that then fills in the necessary details on the documents you choose. They also include an updated pricing summary as you add various features to precisely determine the total cost expected to pay.
|Competitive pricing||No personal legal documents (wills, divorces, bankruptcies, etc.)|
|Free registered agent services for 1 year with Deluxe and Complete plans||No patents, copyrights, or real estate business options|
|Easy to use|
|100% satisfaction guarantee|
Pricing can vary by state (and does not include state fees or rush processing charges). Here are the average prices we found for CorpNet; click here to view all plans.
|Company Name Availability Check|
|Corporate Compliance Tool With Company Alerts|
|Registered Agent Service||60 days||1 year||1 year|
|Federal Tax ID Number (EIN)|
|Custom Bylaws And Minutes (Corporations)|
|Custom Operating Agreement (LLCs)|
|Custome Corporate Incorporation Resolution|
|Electronic Delivery Of State Documents|
|Custome Kit And Seal (Corporations and LLCs)|
|Online Access To Incorporation Documents|
|Lifetime Customer Support|
FindLegalForms is probably best for someone who knows a little about legal speak. It’s cheaper than some of the others, but buyer beware! If you’re a novice, you may become overwhelmed with the complex terms and the do-it-yourself nature of the legal forms on this website.
The documents are state-specific, and you are responsible for downloading and filing them yourself. The customer service reputation is where FindLegalForms seems to fall the most.
|Personal and business forms||May be difficult for some people to use/understand|
|Over 20,000 legal forms online||No legal document preparation service (DIY)|
|Free e-signature with all forms||Customers report poor customer service|
|60-day money-back guarantee||Website lacks legal resources|
|BBB A+ rating|
Pricing starts at $0 per form; click here to view all forms.
FormSwift offers a variety of online legal forms; however, if you’re looking for a company that can help you set up your new business and file any forms throughout your venture, you’ll want to look elsewhere. But if your company is already operating, this may be a good option for you.
FormSwift allows you to purchase a single document for $59. You can also sign up for a membership, which offers the following features:
- Unlimited documents
- PDF editor to alter any uploaded PDF document
- Build-your-own reusable form for others to complete
- Share documents via email and have recipients fill out their portion
|Includes personal, small business, real estate and tax forms||No forms or assistance with starting a new business|
|1100+ form templates||No legal document preparation service (DIY)|
|7-day trial for $1.95||Pricing is not transparent until you’re ready to download your form|
When it’s time to download your first document, FormSwift will ask you to choose a pricing plan. You can select the seven-day trial for $1.95, which renews at $39.95 monthly. FormSwift also offers an annual or single-document fee. Prices below do not include filing fees.
LawDepot offers a range of estate, family, financial, real estate, and business legal services online. LawDepot allows you to purchase a single document à la carte (prices vary). You can also sign up for a membership, enabling you to create unlimited documents, download forms within two weeks, and print unlimited copies.
|Includes real estate, estate, business, family and financial forms||Pricing is not transparent until you’re ready to download your form|
|100% satisfaction guarantee||No legal document preparation service (DIY)|
|Free 7-day trial||Not as many document options as other enterprises (100+)|
When it’s time to download your first document, LawDept will ask you to choose a free or premium license. You can select the seven-day free trial, which renews at $35 per month. FormSwift also offers an annual or single-document fee. Prices below do not include filing fees.
MyCorporation focuses on businesses, whether you’re starting, need help with day-to-day operations, or want to trademark or copyright a company asset. Its business services include one-time filings, business maintenance (annual reports, eNotary service, payroll, etc.), and business products (print marketing, business checks, logo design, website design, etc.) The company’s learning center also contains helpful articles for starting and maintaining your business.
|Free business startup consultation||Must pay $120/year for registered agent services for Basic and Standard pricing levels|
|Entity quiz to help you choose your business structure||No personal legal documents|
|Handles trademarks and copyrights||Reports caution of possible billing issues|
|Wide variety of add-on services for businesses|
|Helpful customer service, including live chat|
|BBB Rating: A+|
Below are MyCorporation’s business formation packages (does not include state fees). MyCorporation also offers à la carte services.
|Articles Of Incorporation|
|Name Availability Search|
|Bylaws, Minutes, And Waivers|
|Annual Report Service|
|Registered Agent Services|
U.S. Legal Forms offers legal help for both personal and business matters. If you know exactly what you are doing, this is a good solution since you can go directly to the forms and get started.
USLegalForms.com also includes many obscure legal documents, like a formal letter to remove someone from your church, which could be helpful to some people.
|85,000+ legal forms||No free trial|
|Affordable||No à la carte option|
|Can cancel at any time|
|BBB rating: A+|
U.S. Legal switched to a subscription model; however, a monthly subscription actually costs less than many single forms. If you only want a single document, cancel your plan after purchasing your subscription.
If you’ve used online legal services, what went well and what went wrong? Let us know in the comments.Tagged With: Comparison