LegalZoom Review: Online Legal Services
|Sign up for LegalZoom|
|Best site for beginners; easy-to-understand interface walks you through complicated legalese; more expensive but worth it|
Legal matters can be scary. The law can seem complicated, especially for those of us who aren't lawyers. LegalZoom understands this and has produced a site that makes the complications of the law simple and easy to understand, whether you are starting a business, creating a real estate lease or simply making a will.
In reviewing these legal services, we focused on two of the more common features: starting a business and registering a trademark.
The starting price for filing a C-Corp, S-Corp, LLC or other corporations is $99, which includes preliminary clearance of your LLC's name, filing of Articles of Organization, and personalized operating agreement, including provisions protecting officers and managers from liability. You can upgrade to the standard filing ($289) — which includes a deluxe corporation/LLC kit, a company seal and PR online visibility assistance — or the Express Gold package ($359) — which includes rush service, your federal tax ID application, over 100 business forms and accounting software.
For trademark registration, LegalZoom charges a base rate of $169, and complete coverage package for $189, which includes a news release and a 30-day trial of Business Advantage Pro. These don't include the standard government filing fee, which is $325.
In addition to the standard pricing, LegalZoom is also very upfront about the pricing of any add-ons you may choose. They explain each add-on, tell you how much it costs and then allow you to opt-in, instead of opting in for you, even for the add-ons that are free.
To test these legal services, we picked the most complicated feature that they all offer — starting a business — although LegalZoom also offers a slew of personal legal options, including creating a will, filing for divorce and designating a power of attorney.
Whether you are setting up a C-Corp, S-Corp, Non-Profit or an LLC, LegalZoom takes out all the unnecessary complications when it comes to the legal side of setting up a company. They hold your hand through the entire process, which is especially comforting for those who have never started a business before.
LegalZoom takes care of as many details as you want it to, which is helpful for people who have never set up a business before. Unanticipated necessities, such as having a registered agent, getting an employee identification number and filing a statement of information can all be done through LegalZoom, but aren't necessary if you already have any of these.
LegalZoom also has a partnership with Bank of America, so if you set up a business bank account with Bank of America, you can receive $150 from LegalZoom. There are conditions on the $150, which LegalZoom lays out for you.
The trademark form is set up in a similar way: walking you through easy step-by-step questions to help you register your trademark. Each question has a help button that further explains how to answer it, and the whole process can take less than five minutes, provided you have all the needed information.
Aside from forming corporations and registering trademarks, LegalZoom offers a litany of other business legal services including features for starting your business (non-profits, partnerships, joint ventures, etc.), running your business (corporate changes and filings, real estate forms, patents and copyrights, and other business compliance forms), and various other business forms and contracts. They also offer business legal adviser services starting at $29.99/month.
LegalZoom had the simplest, easy-to-follow interface that we saw among the legal services sites. Every step is intuitive. And best of all, the pricing was always prominently displayed, so you know what you are paying before you start.
Each feature starts with a questionnaire that details all the questions LegalZoom will need to complete your forms. All the questions are easy to understand, and LegalZoom provides a wide range of help options at each question in case you are unsure of how to answer.
Another very helpful tool is the "How did most people answer this question?" button, which gives you a better idea of what the more popular answers are. For someone who has never set up a business, these buttons served as a very informative guide.
After you have filled out your questionnaire and selected a filing package, LegalZoom will give you a breakdown of how much everything costs and the total you will need to pay. LegalZoom also gives you the option of paying in installments, which is a nice perk not seen on other sites.
One thing that LegalZoom prides itself on is its support. The Customer Care section of the site is easy to navigate and gives you many options to contact LegalZoom based on what you are looking for. All of the customer service features we used were helpful and informative, and all the representatives we talked to were pleasant and knowledgeable.
Unlike other websites where you have to search for a phone number for customer support, LegalZoom has a support number displayed prominently on the top of the site and on many pages of the forms. Unfortunately, that number takes you to the LegalAdvantage customer service phone system, which costs $14.99/month to be a member after a 30-day free trial. It does give you the option of connecting to the regular customer service line, which we found extremely helpful. Although there is usually a long wait, LegalZoom will "wait in line" for you and call you back when a representative is available.
For LegalAdvantage customers, you can also schedule attorney consultations, so you can ask an attorney all of your legal questions. Although each consultation is limited to 30-minutes, you can schedule an unlimited number of consultations.
This is the best site, hands down, for dealing with the legal side of your business. LegalZoom understands that those using their service aren't experienced businessmen who have lawyers or business law knowledge at their disposal, so they make all the legalese so easy to understand, anyone can use it. Their easy-to-use interface, combined with their wide range of services and excellent customer support make LegalZoom the top online legal services site that we reviewed.
NextAdvisor Online Legal Services Blog Headlines
How Much Does Forming an LLC Online Cost?
LegalZoom Forum Posts
Disclosure: NextAdvisor.com is a consumer information site that offers free, independent reviews and ratings of online services. We receive advertising revenue from most of the services we review. Our editors thoroughly research and whenever possible test each service we review and offer their honest opinions about each one. We are independently owned and operated and all opinions expressed on this site are our own.