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LegalShield is an online legal service that provides affordable legal coverage for small businesses and individuals. Instead of paying the steep hourly rates typically charged by law firms, customers can pay a fixed monthly rate for legal representation and advice on a range of issues.
The company is an industry veteran, founded in 1972. They currently have 1.7 million members. LegalShield’s attorney network covers all 50 states and includes 39 law firms and 900 attorneys, who have an average of 22 years of experience.
In exchange for a fixed monthly fee, small businesses can access the following legal services:
In addition to the above, LegalShield has a separate website called Launch for forming a business. LegalShield also offers personal legal coverage and identity theft coverage.
LegalShield charges a fixed monthly fee for legal coverage. The more you pay each month, the more comprehensive the coverage will be.
Here are the cost and details for LegalShield’s legal plans, including their personal legal plan and LegalShield business solutions:
*Note: No matter which plan you choose, your legal work will be handled by a law firm within LegalShield’s network. However, not all law firms and lawyers participate in all of these benefits, so your benefits may vary. The price may also vary slightly based on your location.
As you can see from the table above, there is a wide range in prices based on the amount of legal help your business will need. If you are a freelancer, the home business supplement, which is just added onto your personal legal plan (which costs $24.95 per month), might be enough to meet your needs. For other small businesses, choose the plan that’s designed for your number of employees.
There are limits on the lawyer’s time within each plan, as noted above, so take care to fully review the plan details before signing up.. For example, for a general phone consultation, the lawyer will devote up to one hour of legal work. After that, you’ll have to pay the attorney’s standard hourly rate, minus a 25% LegalShield discount.
Document reviews are limited to 15 pages, and you can request a maximum of six documents to be reviewed in one month. If you need an attorney to call or send letters to a third party on your behalf, that is also limited to six in one month. Beyond these limits, you will be required to pay the attorney’s standard rate minus the 25% discount.
LegalShield is the only online legal service among those we reviewed to offer a home business supplement to their personal legal plan. This is an affordable way for freelancers and consultants to protect themselves, their families, and their businesses with the same plan.
Among the legal services we reviewed, LegalShield was also the only one to offer specific debt collection assistance. At your request, your lawyer will send debt collection letters each month to companies that haven’t paid you on time. Unpaid invoices is one of the leading reasons for small business cash flow shortfalls, so this service can be very helpful in ensuring that your customers pay you.
LegalShield is the only legal service we reviewed to offer trial defense services and trial preparation work if your business is taken to court. This can save you thousands of dollars and lower the stress of being sued.
While LegalShield doesn’t guarantee that you’ll work with the same attorney for every legal matter, you will work with the same law firm. That means the lawyers will get to know your business, and there will be some continuity in the quality of work done on your behalf.
LegalShield has an iOS and Android mobile app that can be helpful to business owners who need legal assistance on the go. You can ask legal questions or access legal forms through the LegalShield app, saving you a trip to your desktop or laptop.
Competitors of LegalShield offer a trial membership or money back guarantee. For instance, Rocket Lawyer offers a seven-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee. LegalZoom offers a 60-day money-back guarantee. But with LegalShield, you can’t try it before you buy it or get a refund, so make sure you carefully read the details of the plan you are purchasing.
If you decide you no longer need LegalShield after a few months of using it, you can always cancel your subscription by contacting customer support.
LegalShield’s website isn’t the easiest to navigate, and it can be slow at times. Fortunately, once you purchase your plan, you won’t need to access the site very often. You can directly call your lawyer or visit the partner law firm’s website.
Just as with any online legal service, there are limits to what you get with a monthly subscription to a LegalShield plan. These include limits on the lawyer’s time as well as page limits for document review. You’ll end up paying more if your legal work goes beyond the limits.
In addition, not all law firms and lawyers participate in all benefits. Some benefits are up to the lawyer’s and the firm’s discretion. This means that you may not enjoy all the features of each plan listed in the pricing table above.
Online reviews of LegalShield contain complaints about poor customer service. We didn’t have a great experience when we emailed customer support. The rep was unable to answer our question.
U.S.-based customer phone support is available Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT. You can also submit an email request on LegalShield.com’s contact page.
LegalShield (formerly called Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc.) gets generally positive online reviews.
On the positive side, people found the LegalShield attorneys to be responsive when they were in a jam. The attorneys were able to solve their legal problems. Most people who left glowing reviews of LegalShield have been members for several years and have used the service on multiple occasions. They said they were able to save thousands of dollars in legal fees over the years by using LegalShield.
On the negative side, people said that it was difficult to cancel their LegalShield plan when they no longer needed it. Some people found that their credit card was charged even after they canceled the plan. Others said the law firms didn’t do the work that was part of their LegalShield benefits.
LegalShield is a good option for businesses that want easy access to legal advice for a low fixed price. However, there are several competing services out there.
Here are some of the best alternatives to LegalShield:
LegalZoom is a larger, better-known competitor to LegalShield and offers some of the same services. LegalZoom has a business legal plan that includes attorney phone consultations, legal forms, and document review. They also offer business formation services.
However, that’s where the similarities stop. LegalShield includes some unique protections in their legal plans, such as debt collection assistance and trial defense. These can be invaluable to a small business that can’t afford to hire costly collection agencies or trial attorneys. LegalShield also offers the home business supplement, a good value if you’re a freelancer looking to protect the personal and business segments of your life.
LegalZoom’s legal plan may be better suited to you, however, if you’re looking to get tax advice. They include access to a tax professional in their legal plan. And if you’re the creative type, LegalZoom includes one free copyright registration per month in its membership plan.
For businesses that are looking to start a new business, IncFile is a more cost-effective alternative to Launch, LegalShield’s business incorporation product.
Although LegalShield’s prices for business incorporation begin at $145 plus state filing fees, IncFile charges just $49 plus state filing fees. That’s the best price for business formation that we were able to find online (unless you do everything yourself).
IncFile includes registered agent service at no additional charge during your business’s first year, but LegalShield charges $120. A registered agent is a person or company who accepts official mail for your business. Most states mandate that you name a registered agent when launching your business.
The plans available on LegalShield are great if you need a quick answer to a legal question or need an attorney to handle a simple matter for you. However, for more complex problems, it’s worth trying a site like UpCounsel instead.
LegalShield limits you to a handful of 30-minute phone calls on more complex legal matters, such as immigration issues with employees, IP matters, and import/export issues. On UpCounsel, you can submit a description of your legal job or legal problem, and their network of attorneys will respond with a proposal.
UpCounsel has over 5,000 business attorneys in its network who worked at top law firms, Google, Apple, and other leading companies. Their price range is typically $125-$350 per hour, but there are also some fixed-fee arrangements.
If you want the security of knowing that you can quickly get a response from a lawyer if you ever need it, LegalShield is a good choice. For a reasonable monthly fee, you can access a lawyer at a leading law firm and get targeted help on specific problem areas for small businesses, such as debt collection. While there are areas for LegalShield to improve, it is a pretty good product at a good price.