Written by GuestOur goal here at BestCompany.com is to provide you with the honest, reliable information you need to find companies you can trust.
How We Evaluate Online Legal Service Companies
We rank and measure online legal service companies on a number of carefully selected criteria points. Because most people seek help from an online legal service company as an alternative to an expensive law firm (i.e., to save money), price plays a major role in a company's score. We also evaluate companies on their ability to provide on-call attorneys, and personal legal services such as estate planning, family law, and patents/copyrights. Companies are also scored on their case completion and document delivery times.
Each online legal service company is individually ranked and reviewed according to these and other important industry standards. Companies that perform consistently well across these criteria points tend to receive higher scores and top spots. To learn more about how we rank online legal service companies, click here.
At the top of the list is LegalShield, a company that provides individuals and small businesses with online access to legal services through an expansive network of provider law firms. LegalShield has been in the business of connecting people to helpful and affordable legal services for over four decades, and partners only with select law firms to ensure its customers are receiving the best legal services possible. The company charges individuals and businesses via monthly subscription, as low as $24.95 and $39/month respectively.
What We Like about LegalShield
In addition to providing a full array of personal legal services-wills and trusts, estate planning, and family law-LegalShield is also one of the few companies in the online legal services industry to provide on-call attorneys, a big plus in our eyes. LegalShield members can expect to receive a call from an attorney within eight business hours. We especially like LegalShield's international network of provider legal firms, which covers all of the United States, as well as select Provinces in Canada.
Rocket Lawyer has provided affordable legal services and free legal documents to more than 20 million people in its short eight-year history. The company works with a vast network of more than 50,000 attorneys to provide fast and affordable legal services to a multinational clientele (U.S. and U.K.). Rocket Lawyer's legal professionals handle all sorts of inquiries from general legal questions, to more complex matters like tax and immigration.
What We Like about Rocket Lawyer
As we've come to expect in a top online legal services provider, Rocket Lawyer is one of the few companies in the industry to provide on-call attorneys, who can respond to a request within one business day. The company also offers a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, where customers can use Rocket Lawyer's services for one week, free of charge, and can cancel at any time. Rocket Lawyer services are competitively priced, and we like that customers can print important legal documents directly from their computer for free.
Since its inception in 1999, LegalZoom has pioneered the online legal services space by providing accessible and affordable legal services to a rapidly expanding clientele. LegalZoom was among the first to offer clients an independent attorney network to help respond to the growing need for sound legal advice that doesn't break the bank. While many attorneys viewed LegalZoom as a threat to their business, they eventually joined LegalZoom's team in an effort to reach underserved populations and individuals. The company now serves over 3 million customers.
What We Like about LegalZoom
One thing we like most about LegalZoom is its prices. LegalZoom offers some of the most affordable rates in the industry-as low as $9.99/month and $23.99/month for individuals and businesses (respectively). We also appreciate the company's extensive, 60-day satisfaction guarantee, which states that if customers are not satisfied with the LegalZoom's services, the company will resolve the issue, offer a refund, or provide credit to customers. Not surprisingly, we like that clients can leave their own reviews about working with one of LegalZoom's attorneys.
For a full list of all our reviewed online legal service companies, click here.
The Future of the Online Legal Services Industry
While the online legal services industry has done a great deal to improve the access, speed, and affordability of legal help to underserved individuals and businesses, the industry as a whole has a long way to go. There are many areas in which these companies could improve. For example, many customers have complained that legal forms downloaded from one of these company's websites did not hold up in court. Companies will need to do more to provide clients with valid and standardized legal documents that will prove valid in a courtroom. Additionally, online legal sites that provide document processing services need to improve their accuracy at filing legal documents in the correct manner.
Online legal service companies should also look into addressing the amount of time a network firm or attorney can spend helping a client. For while seeking help through one of these companies does make the process faster, several details can slip through the cracks without a dedicated attorney giving full attention to the case. Granted, an attorney's time is extremely valuable, but in order to compete with the attention to detail of full-service law firm or dedicated attorney, online legal service companies will need to find a way to grant clients with fuller attorney access without hiking the subscription price.
As the landscape for online legal services continues to develop, BestCompany.com will likewise evolve in its ability to accurately review and rate online legal service companies. Those in need of fast legal help, or who can't afford an attorney, can rely on BestCompany.com to provide them with up-to-date information on which online legal services provider can best meet their unique circumstances.