Thursday, April 9, 2009

LegalZoom vs. A Real Lawyer.....

I applaud Robert Shapiro and the other lawyers who developed LegalZoom. It is a great business model. It is a great tool if you know what your are doing. However, do not think you can call up LegalZoom to get legal advice. LegalZoom is nothing more then a document preparer and filer. They cannot and do not offer Legal Advice regarding your specific business needs. Using LegalZoom for your business legal needs is akin to a non-physician going onto WebMD.com and treating themselves based upon what WebMD.com says.


I always advise my clients to read everything before they sign it or agree to it. The beauty about LegalZoom is that their disclaimer has tucked away in a tiny link at the bottom of their website. I have reprinted it here for you.

Disclaimer

LegalZoom is not a law firm, and the employees of LegalZoom are not acting as your attorney. LegalZoom's legal document service is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.

LegalZoom.com, Inc. ("LegalZoom") is a registered and bonded legal document assistant, #0104, Los Angeles County (exp. 12/09). LegalZoom cannot provide legal advice and can only provide self-help services at your specific direction.

LegalZoom is not permitted to engage in the practice of law. LegalZoom is prohibited from providing any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation to a consumer about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options, selection of forms or strategies.

This site is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship, and by using LegalZoom, no attorney-client relationship will be created with LegalZoom. Instead, you are representing yourself in any legal matter you undertake through LegalZoom's legal document service.

LegalZoom provides an online legal portal to give visitors a general understanding of the law, as well as to provide an automated software solution to individuals who choose to prepare their own legal documents. To that extent, the site publishes general information on legal issues commonly encountered.

LegalZoom's document service also includes a review of your answers for completeness, spelling and grammar, as well as internal consistency of names, addresses and the like. At no time do we review your answers for legal sufficiency, draw legal conclusions, provide legal advice or apply the law to the facts of your particular situation. LegalZoom and its services are not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.

Although LegalZoom takes every reasonable effort to ensure that the information on our website and documents are up-to-date and legally sufficient, the legal information on this site is not legal advice and is not guaranteed to be correct, complete or up-to-date. Because the law changes rapidly, is different from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and is also subject to varying interpretations by different courts and certain government and administrative bodies, LegalZoom cannot guarantee that all the information on the site is completely current. The law is a personal matter, and no general information or legal tool like the kind LegalZoom provides can fit every circumstance.

Therefore, if you need legal advice for your specific problem, or if your specific problem is too complex to be addressed by our tools, you should consult a licensed attorney in your area. Visitors to our site may obtain information regarding free or low cost representation through your state bar association or local legal aid office.

This site and some of the articles on this site contain links to other resources and businesses on the Internet. Those links are provided as citations and aids to help you identify and locate other Internet resources that may be of interest, and are not intended to state or imply that LegalZoom sponsors, is affiliated or associated with, guarantees, or is legally authorized to use any trade name, registered trademark, logo, legal or official seal, or copyrighted symbol that may be reflected in the links.

LegalZoom is not responsible for any loss, injury, claim, liability, or damage related to your use of this site or any site linked to this site, whether from errors or omissions in the content of our site or any other linked sites, from the site being down or from any other use of the site. In short, your use of the site is at your own risk.

LegalZoom is nothing more than a re-packaged "We The People" on the internet. They are Legal Document Assistants. There are a lot of things that non-lawyers can do. You can set up your own corporation or LLC, you can draft your own contracts, you can draft your own employee policies and procedures, etc. However, nothing takes the place of establishing a relationship with a lawyer who can perform all those tasks with expertise and "counsel" you on your legal decisions. There are a lot of good business lawyers that are willing to take the time to help you from making mistakes on your own. I am one of them....






2 comments:

  1. I found your post through San Diego Small Business Blog. I wrote about the same thing back in February 2009 (http://bit.ly/koGOS), and came to the same conclusion. Moreover, since these document preparation companies can't give legal advice, you'll get so much more value by consulting an attorney.

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  2. I have several concerns about the legalzoom living trust as it is woefully inadequate. But the thing that bothers me most is it couches legal advice in the form of "how other people answered this question."

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