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Important Things to Know about Online Legal Service

Legal services are essential for business owners and individuals because laws affect every aspect of life. Seeking professional legal advice and help from a lawyer can be expensive. Online legal services provide help with fundamental legal matters, legal forms, and processes at an affordable price. This guide will help you understand more about obtaining legal assistance from online legal services websites and help you make the best choice for you.

Online Legal Services 101

  • The Basics

    The practice of law is multifaceted. Law governs how communities large and small operate. Online legal services generally focus on helping with legal documents and forms. They also give legal advice and specialize in certain areas like business law, business formation, wills, trusts, or intellectual property. Others provide a wider range of legal services, although they occasionally limit the kinds of law they handle.

  • Talking to a Lawyer

    There are many ways that online legal service providers offer consumers customer support. For example, they have directories of attorneys who will review legal forms and documents for clients. Most online legal services call this "attorney review." A client can also meet with an attorney to ask questions and receive additional aid with legal documents. Online legal services companies also have customer service staff who have been trained in these forms and can help answer your questions. They also often have prepared templates of legal forms that you can use for filling out rental contracts (tenancy agreements), writing a will, or starting a business.

    While most online legal service providers offer the opportunity to speak with an attorney, if a client requires legal assistance with more complex legal matters or requires legal representation in court, it may be best to seek out a law firm or lawyer.

  • Cost

The cost of an online legal service can be separated into two parts, per document fee, or monthly subscription. 

Monthly Subscription- Most small businesses owners and families are becoming members of online legal services to ensure they have documents, legal forms, and have a portal to get legal questions answered. These subscriptions are very useful and will give access to most of the features an online legal company offers. Clients don’t have to worry about expensive retainers or the high hourly cost for a lawyer.

Monthly subscriptions work best for potential clients who are starting a small business, have large families or people who often find themselves needing access and help with legal documents. The monthly subscriptions can often cost between $20-40 per month, and usually give you access to attorneys, legal forms, and 24/7 online assistance or customer support.

Per Document Fee- The other options most online legal services offer is a Per Document Fee. To gain access to a single legal form or document, you can pay a smaller fee to access it without signing up for a monthly subscription. This feature will often restrict access to the company's attorneys, services, or legal assistance.

The Per Document Fee is best for customers looking to use a single document without paying hundreds in a membership fee or going through an attorney. The price of getting these forms can cost between $9-40 per document.

Online Legal Services Vs. Law Firm

Online legal advice can be expensive but nowhere near the cost to hire an attorney. Depending on your legal situation, an online legal service can save you thousands of dollars.

So how can you decide between using online legal services or a law firm?

Asking Legal Questions

When you have any legal question using an online legal service is best. With the cost of lawyers being so steep, online legal services will give you all the answers to your legal questions. Most online legal companies have attorneys who have trained customer service representatives to answer legal matters, but if your issues are complicated or customer support can't answer your questions, the attorneys for the online services would be able to answer your legal questions.

Starting a Business, Renting Out an Apartment, or Creating a Contract

Whether you are creating an LLC, S-Corp, C-Corp, or Non-Profit, beginning to rent out an apartment or looking to build a contract, often it is much cheaper to use an online legal service. These online legal companies will not only give you the needed documents, but it will also teach you how to fill them out and often have basic spreadsheets already created for your situation.

Getting a Patent or Trademark

Online Legal Services takes the cake for this one. The average cost for a patent attorney is $300 an hour, whereas most of the needed documents and legal advice is available through these online legal services for less than $40 per month.

High Profile Cases

If you are involved in a big car accident, a domestic violence case, or anything that may require additional legal resources, using an attorney is best. Why? Lawyers have greater access to documents, they have a clear understanding of the law, and they have the resources to fight your case. For example, if you're involved in a medical malpractice case, you could be entitled to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Insurance companies and doctors will pay its lawyers thousands of dollars to make sure they don't pay you all that you deserve. A law firm will have the resources to fight for you and ensure that you will get paid what you were owed.

See our top-ranked online legal services companies.

What kind of legal services do online providers offer?

Legal services offered online vary by the provider. Some offer the aid nationally. Others are specific to certain states. Their primary focus is on legal documents. Most offer help with business law, finance law, and wills. Some also offer help with family law and representation in criminal and civil cases.

Do the online legal document libraries make documents available in translation?

Some online legal service companies do offer documents in other languages. However, most offer documents only in English.

Are online legal services helpful for small businesses?

Online legal services can be especially helpful for businesses just starting. The document templates and document review are helpful resources. Being able to talk to an attorney also helps new business owners understand what their legal obligations are and how to fulfill them. The services are affordable and help to ensure that your business meets all its legal requirements.