LegalZoom

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LegalZoom, Inc.
Private
Industry
FoundedMarch 12, 2001; 18 years ago (2001-03-12)
Founders
Headquarters,
United States
Area served
United States
Key people
Revenue$200 million [4]
Number of employees
1,080
Websitelegalzoom.com

LegalZoom.com, Inc. is an online legal technology company that helps its customers create an array of legal documents without having to necessarily hire a lawyer. Available documents include wills and living trusts,[5] business formation documents,[6] copyright registrations, and trademark applications. The company also offers attorney referrals and registered agent services.[7]

LegalZoom is often described as a disruptive innovator in the market for legal services.[8] Its efforts to utilize computer technology to make legal services affordable and accessible have been noted by both the American Bar Association[9][10] and in the business press.[11]

History[edit]

LegalZoom was founded by Brian P. Y. Liu, Brian S. Lee, Edward R. Hartman, and Robert Shapiro.[12] Since Lee, Hartman, and Liu were not well known, they discussed a number of prominent individuals who could lend credibility to their proposed enterprise; they finally decided on the influential Los Angeles litigator Robert Shapiro. Lee managed to contact Shapiro, and after some discussion Shapiro decided their idea had merit and agreed to help the company get off the ground.[13]

The company began offering legal service products to the public on March 12, 2001.[14]

LegalZoom has been recognized a number of times over the years for its entrepreneurial acumen. In 2011, Business Insider ranked LegalZoom 27th on its list of the world's most valuable startups,[15] and in 2012, Fast Company ranked LegalZoom 26th on its list of the most innovative companies.[16]

In September 2012, it was announced that LegalZoom had formed a partnership with the United Kingdom-based legal services provider QualitySolicitors, as part of which the companies will jointly offer online legal services in the United Kingdom including company formations and divorce documents.[17]

On January 6, 2014, European private capital firm Permira announced its intent to acquire $200 million in the outstanding equity of LegalZoom and become its largest shareholder pending regulatory approval.[18] On February 14, 2014 Permira announced that the deal was complete.[19]

In 2015, LegalZoom announced they were to make their first UK acquisition. The acquired firm are Beaumont Legal, a 200-year-old firm in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England which describes itself as one of the largest conveyancers in the country.[20]

Services[edit]

LegalZoom provides legal services in various common categories including copyrights, DBAs, business formation, trusts, wills, patents, power of attorney, pre-nuptial agreements, and real estate leases.[21] The company also offers legal plans through its network of independent attorneys.[22]

Middle-class families and small business owners are the primary target markets for LegalZoom's services.[23] The company's efforts to render affordable, quality legal services to these two groups reflects a broader global trend in which legal service providers are attempting to harness computer technology to supply ever-more-proficient services at lower costs.[24]

Reviews[edit]

The September 2012 issue of Consumer Reports magazine gave mixed reviews to the computer-aided legal forms generated by LegalZoom and two of its competitors, Nolo (formerly Nolo Press) and Rocket Lawyer. The evaluation found that all three companies provided documents "for a fraction of what you’d pay a lawyer." The CR review also said that "[u]sing any of the three services is generally better than drafting the documents yourself without legal training or not having them at all. But unless your needs are simple... none of the will-writing products is likely to entirely meet your needs." It also found in some cases, the other non-will documents weren’t specific enough or contained language that could potentially lead to an unintended result.[25]

A 2016 analysis posted on the e-commerce blogging site "Blogtrepreneur" examined some of the reviews given to LegalZoom by experts and by its customers. The analysis found that "not all of the LegalZoom reviews have been flattering," but noted that the company is accredited by the Better Business Bureau, that it has been in business since 2001, and called LegalZoom "a fairly noteworthy and respected business."[26]

Increasing access to legal services[edit]

LegalZoom's use of computer technology often results in lower prices for the specific services it renders than those charged by traditional lawyers. Consequently, it is regularly cited as an example of "disruptive innovation" in the legal marketplace.[27] The company asserts that this disruption benefits people who otherwise could not hire a lawyer by expanding their access to legal services.

In 2015 LegalZoom and the North Carolina State Bar Association settled years of litigation by agreeing that companies like LegalZoom which offer automated legal document preparation will not violate North Carolina's prohibitions against the unauthorized practice of law if the companies register with the state and comply with certain consumer protection procedures.[28] Following the settlement, the US Federal Trade Commission and the US Department of Justice jointly advised the North Carolina Legislature that the state should avoid placing overly broad restrictions on companies that offer computer-facilitated legal services.[29] In discussing the potential benefits from such software and websites, the two agencies stated that "[i]nteractive software for generating legal forms may be more cost-effective for some consumers, may exert downward price pressure on licensed lawyer services, and may promote the more efficient and convenient provision of legal services. Such products may also help increase access to legal services..."[30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Company Overview / People / Board for LegalZoom.com, Inc". Bloomberg Stock Research. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  2. ^ "Company Overview / People for LegalZoom.com, Inc". Bloomberg Stock Research. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  3. ^ https://finance.yahoo.com/news/legalzoom-appoints-laura-goldberg-chief-120000981.html%20LegalZoom%20appoints%20Laura%20Goldberg
  4. ^ https://pando.com/2014/01/06/the-legalzoom-deal-is-a-win-for-vcs-but-less-exciting-for-the-company-or-la/
  5. ^ Bernstein, Fred. "Being of Sound Mind, and a $55 Consultation". The New York Times. Retrieved July 3, 2017.
  6. ^ "Incorporation: The Web Can Help". PC Magazine. Retrieved July 3, 2017.
  7. ^ "Registered agent market share". Northwest Registered Agent, LLC. Retrieved July 3, 2017.
  8. ^ Sonderegger, Dean (June 27, 2017). "Want To Know The Future Of Legal Tech? Ask Your Accountant: Accounting offers law firms a longer-term view that what seems to be a threat can actually be a significant opportunity". Above the Law. Retrieved July 3, 2017.
  9. ^ "List of Recipients and Nominees - Louis M. Brown Award for [Increasing] Legal Access" (PDF). American Bar Association Standing Committee on The Delivery of Legal Services. 2005. Archived from the original (pdf) on Mar 19, 2005. Nominee: LegalZoom.com
  10. ^ Ambrogi, Robert (August 2014). "Latest legal victory has LegalZoom poised for growth". ABA Journal.
  11. ^ Buchholz, Jan (March 8, 2013). "LegalZoom pays $21M for building: Room for 600, and then some". Austin Business Journal. LegalZoom Inc., the online alternative to lawyers . . .
  12. ^ First online dating, then online wedding planning, now this (22 January 2004). USA Today. Last accessed July 3, 2017.
  13. ^ Chang, Andrea. "Entrepreneur Brian Lee is business partner to the stars". www.latimes.com. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 3, 2017.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-21. Retrieved 2012-01-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "The 100 Most Valuable Startups In The World, Revamped And Revised!" Business Insider, October 7, 2011.
  16. ^ David Lidsky, "Most Innovative Companies 2012," Fast Company, February 7, 2012.
  17. ^ "LegalZoom to tie up with QualitySolicitors for British launch". The Lawyer. 20 September 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2012.
  18. ^ "Permira to take controlling stake in LegalZoom.com". www.reuters.com. Reuters. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  19. ^ http://www.socaltech.com/permira_completes____m_legalzoom_buy/s-0053598.html
  20. ^ Hyde, John (December 7, 2015). "LegalZoom to make first UK acquisition". The Law Society Gazette. London. Retrieved June 2, 2017.
  21. ^ http://lawvibe.com/legalzoom-and-the-rise-of-online-legal-self-help/
  22. ^ https://www.legalzoom.com/legal/general-terms/terms-of-use/
  23. ^ Li, Victor (March 17, 2017). "Avvo, LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer CEOs say their products help bridge access-to-justice gap". ABA Journal. American Bar Association. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  24. ^ Croft, Jane (December 5, 2016). "The relentless advance of the super-intelligent attorney: The legal sector is being disrupted as clients seek lower bills and greater insight from advisers". Financial Times. London. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  25. ^ "Legal DIY websites are no match for a pro: They provide services for a fraction of what you'd pay a lawyer". Consumer Reports. September 2012. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  26. ^ "Legalzoom Reviews by Experts & Customers [Updated 2016]". Blogtrepreneur. 2016. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
  27. ^ Cohen, Mark A. (March 14, 2017). "'Legal Innovation' Is Not An Oxymoron -- It's Farther Along Than You Think". Forbes "Contributor" article. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
  28. ^ Rogers, Joan (July 26, 2016). "N.C. Law Regulates LegalZoom, Other Legal Doc Providers". Bloomberg BNA. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  29. ^ Kroh, Eric (June 13, 2016). "DOJ, FTC Say Legal Documents Software Helps Consumers". Law360 ("A LexisNexis Company"). Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  30. ^ "Joint advisory letter from the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice, re North Carolina HB 436" (PDF). June 10, 2016. Retrieved May 24, 2017. [C]onsider the benefits of interactive websites for consumers and competition...

External links[edit]