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LegalZoom, Inc.
FoundedMarch 12, 2001; 20 years ago (2001-03-12)
United States
Area served
United States
Key people
RevenueIncrease $200 million[3]
Number of employees
1,080, Inc. is an online legal technology company that helps its customers create legal documents without necessarily having to hire a lawyer. Available documents include wills and living trusts,[4] business formation documents,[5] copyright registrations, and trademark applications. The company also offers attorney referrals and registered agent services.[6]

LegalZoom is a disruptive innovator in the market for legal services.[7] Its efforts to utilize computer technology to provide affordable and accessible legal services have been noted by both the American Bar Association[8][9] and in the business press.[10] LegalZoom claims the use of computer technology often results in lower prices for the specific services it renders than those charged by traditional lawyers.[11] The company asserts that this disruption benefits people who otherwise could not hire a lawyer by expanding their access to legal services.[12]


LegalZoom was founded by Brian P. Y. Liu, Brian S. Lee, Edward R. Hartman, and Robert Shapiro.[13] 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 decided on the Los Angeles litigator Robert Shapiro. Lee managed to contact Shapiro, and after some discussion Shapiro agreed to help the company get off the ground.[14]

The company began offering legal service products to the public on March 12, 2001.[15]

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,[16] and in 2012, Fast Company ranked LegalZoom 26th on its list of the most innovative companies.[17]

In September 2012, LegalZoom formed a partnership with the United Kingdom-based legal services provider QualitySolicitors, as part of which the companies jointly offer online legal services in the United Kingdom including company formations and divorce documents.[18]

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.[19] On February 14, 2014 Permira announced that the deal was complete.[20]

In 2015, LegalZoom announced they were to make their first UK acquisition. The acquired firm was Beaumont Legal, a 200-year-old firm in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England which describes itself as one of the largest conveyancers in the country.[21]


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.[22]

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."[23]

Another review posted on MoneyAisle suggested LegalZoom as one of the top business formation service providers due to its popularity in the United States' market. However, a well-known name in auto refinancing and loan service provider (MoneyAisle) suggests 6 best alternative every startup should try. The reason behind this suggestion is the price the entrepreneurs have to pay to acquire the LegalZoom services is too much. These suggestion possibly help stop the monopoly existed since long.

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.[24] 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.[25] 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..."[26]


  1. ^ "Leadership: Management Team, Board of Directors, Legal Advisory Board". LegalZoom. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  2. ^ "Leadership: Management Team, Board of Directors, Legal Advisory Board". LegalZoom. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Bernstein, Fred. "Being of Sound Mind, and a $55 Consultation". The New York Times. Retrieved July 3, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Incorporation: The Web Can Help". PC Magazine. Retrieved July 3, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Registered agent market share". Northwest Registered Agent, LLC. Retrieved July 3, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "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 March 19, 2005. Nominee:
  9. ^ Ambrogi, Robert (August 2014). "Latest legal victory has LegalZoom poised for growth". ABA Journal.
  10. ^ 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 . . .
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ First online dating, then online wedding planning, now this (22 January 2004). USA Today. Last accessed July 3, 2017.
  14. ^ Chang, Andrea. "Entrepreneur Brian Lee is business partner to the stars". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 3, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-21. Retrieved 2012-01-16. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "The 100 Most Valuable Startups In The World, Revamped And Revised!" Business Insider, October 7, 2011.
  17. ^ David Lidsky, "Most Innovative Companies 2012," Fast Company, February 7, 2012.
  18. ^ "LegalZoom to tie up with QualitySolicitors for British launch". The Lawyer. 20 September 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  19. ^ "Permira to take controlling stake in". Reuters. Retrieved 23 June 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  20. ^
  21. ^ Hyde, John (December 7, 2015). "LegalZoom to make first UK acquisition". The Law Society Gazette. London. Retrieved June 2, 2017.
  22. ^ "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.
  23. ^ "Legalzoom Reviews by Experts & Customers [Updated 2016]". Blogtrepreneur. 2016. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
  24. ^ Rogers, Joan (July 26, 2016). "N.C. Law Regulates LegalZoom, Other Legal Doc Providers". Bloomberg BNA. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  25. ^ Kroh, Eric (June 13, 2016). "DOJ, FTC Say Legal Documents Software Helps Consumers". Law360 ("A LexisNexis Company"). Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  26. ^ "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...

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