Avvo is an online legal service that offers the largest online directory of lawyers and lawyer reviews. Avvo also has an active legal forum, where you can post a legal question for free and get a response from lawyers within a few hours.
Avvo was founded by an attorney in 2006; today 97% of U.S. lawyers have an Avvo profile, and there are currently over 11.5 million questions and answers in their legal forum.
In addition to business solutions, Avvo offers personal legal services, which may be of interest to freelancers and people with home-based businesses.
Beyond the lawyer directory and legal forum, there aren’t any other legal services available on Avvo. However, if you’re just looking for a starting point for legal help, Avvo can be an excellent resource.
The services available on Avvo are completely free to use for small businesses. You can post an anonymous question, and lawyers will post their replies. When we tried it, we got multiple replies within an hour. Although you shouldn’t consider these responses as legal advice, they often provide a good starting point for solving a legal problem.
Searching the lawyer directory for lawyers near you is also a free service. Avvo takes a cut from the lawyer if you end up finding them through Avvo and retain them.
Largest Directory of Lawyers
Avvo has the largest online directory of lawyers, with 97% of U.S. attorneys having an Avvo profile. One of the best uses of their site is to find local lawyers who are qualified to help you. Lawyers are listed in every zip code, sortable by area of specialty, client rating, number of years of experience, and whether they offer a free consultation or fixed-rate legal services in partnership with Avvo.
Free Legal Q&A Forum
Avvo has one of the largest, most active legal forums on the internet. You can anonymously ask any legal question for free and get a response back within a few hours from multiple Avvo attorneys. These brief responses shouldn’t be treated as legal advice. However, this feature can be invaluable if you want to get some initial guidance or figure out where you need to go for more information.
Free Legal Forms
While many other sites charge for accessing legal forms, Avvo has a library of free forms. Similar to other sites, you can customize these forms with your business’s information. The downside is that there are fewer forms available on Avvo compared to other sites. Currently, there are only 19 business legal forms available for download.
Legal Services Not Available
The two main services available on Avvo are the lawyer directory (including attorney reviews) and the legal Q&A forum. Apart from that, there’s not much in the way of legal help that you obtain on this site. The fixed-rate legal services that Avvo used to provide were shut down in July 2018.
Questions About Lawyer Ratings
Avvo allows former clients to review their attorneys and also has its own “Avvo rating” for lawyers based on information in their profiles about work experience and qualifications. However, there has been some controversy around the validity of these reviews and ratings. Sometimes, for example, inexperienced lawyers receive higher Avvo ratings than more experienced ones, and better-connected lawyers get higher ratings. Lawyers also don’t have much control over the information that gets listed on their profiles.
Avvo Customer Service
There’s no customer support phone number listed on Avvo.com. You can submit an email request on Avvo’s contact page or live chat with a support agent.
Avvo Customer Reviews
Avvo gets mixed online reviews. Average Avvo reviews include 1.1 out of 5 stars on Better Business Bureau, 2.2 out of 5 stars on TrustPilot, and 1.4 out of 5 stars on Sitejabber.
People raved about the fact that they could post legal questions for free and get a response from multiple attorneys. They often ended up hiring an attorney who responded to their question.
Users also mentioned how much they loved the attorneys they worked with, which is a testament to how much Avvo cares about the law firms they partner with, even though the attorneys pay a membership fee.
Another positive theme is that users felt they were given exactly what was advertised, and many people found lawyers they’d use again through the service.
Customers weren’t so happy with the process for leaving reviews of their attorneys. Some people claimed that they left honest negative reviews of lawyers they had worked with, and Avvo didn’t post them. Either that, or Avvo takes negative reviews down for violating the Community Guidelines, but never specifically says what the violation is.
With a service like Avvo, each user is going to have a different experience with attorneys. Some noted that the attorneys they were in contact with were rude, condescending, or just stopped responding to queries altogether. Some went on to say that their lawyer didn’t complete the necessary tasks and paperwork for their case.
Avvo Competitors and Alternatives
Avvo is a great way to find a local lawyer who is qualified to help your business and to get some fixed-rate legal services. But, due to cost or the particular legal services you need, Avvo might not be the best option for you.
Here are some of the leading alternatives to Avvo:
Best Avvo alternative for finding a local lawyer.
A lot of people use Avvo to find a lawyer in their area. Another platform that does the same thing is LegalMatch. On LegalMatch, you can submit a description of your legal problem, your business’s location, and your budget. Several attorneys will respond with a personal message about your case, their relevant experience, availability, and fee structure. You can then choose who is best suited for you and your business.
Unlike Avvo, LegalMatch doesn’t list lawyer profiles with reviews. However, that may not be a bad thing. Instead of having to weed through hundreds of profiles, LegalMatch decides which attorneys are best qualified to help you. The attorneys you’re matched with charge an hourly rate, which is independently negotiated between you and the attorney.
Best Avvo alternative for business formation.
As we mentioned above, Avvo no longer offers fixed-rate legal services and business formation services. If that’s what you need, consider IncFile, which is the least expensive option for business formation services online. You can register your business entity for as little as $49 plus government filing fees.
IncFile even includes registered agent service at no additional charge during your business’ first year. A registered agent is a person or company that will accept official mail for your business. States require you to name a registered agent when you launch your business.
Best Avvo alternative for complex legal issues.
Many straightforward legal situations, such as creating a standard contract or filing formation paperwork for a business, can be handled quickly and don’t take much of a lawyer’s time. However, some legal problems are more complex, and there’s more at risk. For example, your business may be sued or you may face a highly specialized legal problem.
In those types of situations, try a service like UpCounsel. UpCounsel has a network of attorneys just like Avvo, but UpCounsel lawyers all have specialized business expertise. They can help businesses with things like employee immigration issues, IP matters, securities and finance, and import/export issues.
The price range of UpCounsel attorneys is typically between $125 and$350 per hour, but there are also some fixed fee arrangements.
The Bottom Line
If you have a pretty straightforward legal question, an excellent way to get it answered is to post it in Avvo’s free legal forum. For more in-depth questions and personalized legal help, use Avvo’s lawyer directory to find a lawyer near you. Whatever legal help you need, chances are that Avvo is a good starting point.