What an attorney thinks of Legal Zoom – Part II: The bad

In my last post I discussed the circumstances that led to the creation of Legal Zoom services and why its creation was a good thing for attorneys.  Today, I describe that downside of the commoditization of legal services.

Legal Zoom is less than good because it offers an incomplete solution.

For the low, low price of $$$, you can have a Will, form a corporation or secure a basic trademark.  You get the bare minimun:  existence as a corporation, a functioning Will or a simple trademark.  What is missing?  The counseling element, knowledge and experience that all good attorneys provide.  The question should not be “Can I get incorporated?”, the questions should be:  “Do I need a corporation or limited liability company?”, “How should the entity be structured?”, “How do I develop a structure for recordkeeping and legal documents?”  

These are the questions that when answered properly help lay a solid foundation for any business or estate planning document.  The acts of incorporation, drafting and executing a Will or bringing a limited liability company into existence is a part of the process, not the whole process.  It is like fixing a leaky faucet with a do-it-yourself kit from Home Depot only to discover later when your kitchen floods that all your plumbing is bad.  

Legal Zoom and similar sites provide access to the system but do not completely equip users for flourishing within the system.  In “3 easy steps” a business has addressed all the necessary legal issues and built a solid foundation.  If you check all the boxes you have addressed all the issues.  Law is a commodity that can be bought and sold in bulk.  My experience teaches me that none of those statements are correct.

With the creation of your business or your Will you want a relationship with your attorney not a one-click stand.

What are your experiences with Legal Zoom and related products?

 

 

Posted by Shawn Roberts

On this blog, I write about and try to answer practical Oklahoma legal questions. My focus and most experience is in estate planning and business issues including Oklahoma non-compete law. I make a living as an attorney in the law firm I founded, Cazes Roberts, PLLC in Oklahoma City. I live in Edmond with wife Amy and my two children, Sam (17) and David (9). We live precisely in the path of where the "wind comes sweeping down the plains."