|Founded||March 12, 2001|
|Headquarters||Austin, Texas, United States|
|Revenue||$200 million |
Number of employees
LegalZoom.com, Inc. is an online legal technology company that was founded by Brian P. Y. Liu, Brian S. Lee, Edward R. Hartman, and Robert Shapiro. In addition to providing an array of online legal documents like wills and living trusts, LegalZoom offers LLC, incorporation, trademark and registered agent services.
LegalZoom began offering legal service products to the public on March 12, 2001. Lee, Hartman, and Liu felt that since they were unknowns, they needed to attach someone to the company that people trusted. They came up with a list of potential candidates and decided on Robert Shapiro. Lee got Shapiro's phone number and called him at 8:30pm believing he would be leaving a voice mail, but Shapiro personally answered the phone and after discussion, liked the concept.
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.
The September 2012 issue of Consumer Reports magazine evaluated and compared 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." Additionally, the CR review found 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.
In 2013 LegalZoom purchased a 206,000-square-foot building at 9900 Spectrum Drive in the Davis Springs Spectrum Business Park in Austin, Texas for a reported $21 million. The Austin office acts as one of their headquarters and in July 2014 they installed a 260 kW solar electric system.
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. On February 14, 2014 Permira announced that the deal was complete.
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.
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. 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. 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 . . . ."
LegalZoom provides legal services in various common categories including copyrights, DBAs, business formation, trusts, wills, patents, power of attorney, pre-nuptial agreements, real estate leases. The company also provides an attorney referral service and offers legal plans attorneys.
Middle class families and small business owners are the primary target markets for LegalZoom's services. 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.
- In 2011, Business Insider ranked LegalZoom 27th on its list of the world's most valuable startups.
- In 2012, Fast Company ranked LegalZoom 26th on its list of the most innovative companies.
- "Company Overview / People for LegalZoom.com, Inc.". Bloomberg Stock Research. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
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- "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.
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- "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 . . .
- 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.
- 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.
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