What Is LegalZoom?
LegalZoom is an online legal service designed to be a “one-stop shop” for all of a small business’s legal needs. Businesses can pay a low fixed rate for many types of legal work. Founded in 2001, LegalZoom has helped over 4 million businesses and consumers resolve their legal problems.
At LegalZoom, you can do any of the following:
- Start a business/file business formation paperwork
- Create custom legal documents with e-signature
- Register a trademark or apply for a patent or copyright protection
- Consult with a lawyer and get legal documents reviewed by a lawyer
- Get business tax advice
Their main clientele are small businesses that don’t have in-house legal departments or lawyers.
LegalZoom offers a wide range of legal services.
Here is the cost for a few services on LegalZoom:
LLC – $79+ and govt. filing fees; S-Corp & C-Corp – $149+ and govt. filing fees; Nonprofit – $99+ and govt. filing fees; LP & LLP – $149+ and govt. filing fees
Registered agent service
LLC – $159 per year
Single form – $14.95; Unlimited access to form library – $7.99 per month or included with Business Advisory Plan
Business Advisory Plan:
Phone consultations with a lawyer; unlimited access to legal forms; document review; annual business evaluation (1-year plan only); access to tax professionals; 25% off attorney’s hourly rate for additional work
$31.25 per month for 1-year plan;
$36 per month for 6-month plan
LLC – $199+ and federal filing fees
LLC – $114+ and federal filing fees
Initial patent application
LLC – $199+ and federal filing fees
Add-ons come at an additional cost. The prices for business formation noted in the table are starting prices. As an example, ordering an official corporate seal and custom stock certificates for a C-Corp or S-Corp (neither of which is legally required) costs an additional $90. Expedited filing (if you’re running up against a deadline) costs an additional $220.
There are also additional costs if you need to go beyond what the Business Advisory Plan includes. For example, if you need an attorney to review documents that are over 10 pages long, the extra charge is between $39 and $99. And if your legal issues require more work than a 30-minute phone consultation can resolve, then the attorney will charge their independent hourly rate at a 25% discount for LegalZoom customers.
Fortunately, LegalZoom details their prices very clearly on their website, so there’s no doubt about what you are paying for and what you are getting in return.
Longevity and Money Back Guarantee
LegalZoom is one of the oldest and most well-known online legal services, having helped over 4 million businesses and consumers. They offer a 60-day money back satisfaction guarantee, the longest in the industry. You can also cancel your membership at any time and get a prorated refund.
Comprehensive Business Legal Plan
This is the least expensive option for a business legal plan (called the Business Advisory Plan) that offers regular access to an attorney.
Just like competitors, the business legal plan includes phone consultations with an attorney and document review. However, LegalZoom also includes tax advice and an annual business evaluation (checks to ensure you’re in compliance with relevant laws) in their legal plan, which competitors do not offer. It also includes one copyright registration per month, an excellent deal for artists, musicians, and other creative freelancers and businesses.
Spotty Customer Service
LegalZoom customer phone support is available both on the weekdays and on Saturday. Email support is also available. Unfortunately, however, online reviews include several complaints about the quality of the customer service and business formation filings.
Not the Best Platform for Business Formation
LegalZoom is costlier than competitors for business formation. Prices start at $79 plus state filing fees for business formation, whereas competitors like IncFile charge as little as $0 plus government filing fees.
Not the Best Platform for One-Time Legal Help
Certain services, like document review, are available only if you sign up for the monthly business legal plan. You can’t just access them on a one-time basis.
LegalZoom Customer Service
U.S.-based customer phone support is available Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT, and Saturday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT. You can also submit an email request on their website.
Summary of LegalZoom Online Reviews
LegalZoom gets mixed online reviews.
In positive reviews, people said that LegalZoom was able to get them the legal information they needed quickly and for a fraction of what they would have paid at a law firm. People also liked that a whole menu of legal services is offered, so it was easy to get multiple things done during one visit to the website.
Negative reviews centered primarily around poor customer service. People complained that they were put on hold for a long time (half an hour or more) before being able to reach a customer service representative. Another area of LegalZoom complaints was around business filings, with people claiming there were delays in their business formation paperwork being filed.
LegalZoom Competitors and Alternatives
If you don’t find what you need with LegalZoom or are wondering if there are lower-cost alternatives, view our recommendations below. There are dozens of online legal services, each with their own pros and cons.
Best LegalZoom Alternative for Regular Legal Help: Rocket Lawyer
If you think your small business will need legal help on multiple issues or on multiple occasions over several months, then you should consider Rocket Lawyer, another big player in the online legal service space.
Rocket Lawyer is the closest competitor to LegalZoom. They offer many of the same services, such as business formation and a legal form library. Rocket Lawyer is slightly costlier (by $20) than LegalZoom to form an LLC, the same cost to form a nonprofit, and less expensive (by $50) to form a corporation.
Like LegalZoom, Rocket Lawyer also has a business legal plan that is charged monthly. At $39.99 per month, it is more expensive than LegalZoom. However, as part of the legal plan, you get your first business incorporation for free. So, that can save you hundreds of dollars if you need to form your business entity.
With the Rocket Lawyer plan, you also get unlimited phone consultations with an attorney, unlimited access to legal forms, and something unique called Document Defense. This may help you enforce legal contracts. For example, if you create a supplier agreement on Rocket Lawyer and the supplier doesn’t send you the agreed upon merchandise, a Rocket Lawyer attorney will draft and send the supplier a demand letter on your behalf.
The Rocket Lawyer legal plan does not include tax advice, document review, or copyright registration. If you are looking for those things, it’s best to opt for LegalZoom.
Best LegalZoom Alternative for Business Formation: IncFile
If you’re just looking to incorporate a new business, then LegalZoom isn’t the most cost-effective option. That honor belongs to IncFile, a service that’s focused only on business formation.
LegalZoom’s prices for business formation start at $79 plus government filing fees for LLCs and go up from there for other business types. In contrast, IncFile’s entry level business formation plan costs $0 plus government filing fees for all business entity types.
IncFile even includes registered agent service for free during your business’ first year, while LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer charge $150 for a registered agent. A registered agent is a third party who accepts legal process and official mail on your business’s behalf. Most states require you to name a registered agent when starting your business.
Compared to LegalZoom, IncFile also gets better online reviews for customer service and for filing things correctly and on time.
Best LegalZoom Alternative for Complex Legal Issues: UpCounsel
Founded in 2012, UpCounsel is a newer legal website that’s designed to match you up with an experienced business lawyer. Unlike LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer, UpCounsel’s business model does not involve low-cost business formation services or monthly memberships.
They focus on more complicated situations, such as patents, securities, immigration, and general counsel services. UpCounsel has a network of 5,000 business attorneys hailing from top law firms, Google, Apple, and other leading companies.
Given their background and level of experience, UpCounsel attorneys charge more for their services. The price range is approximately $125-$350 per hour, though there are some fixed fee arrangements.
The Bottom Line
LegalZoom is one of the oldest and most well-known online legal services. You can find a range of options to help you through legal situations, whether it’s forming a business, creating a custom legal document, or consulting with a lawyer. Their business legal plan is a great value for small businesses that may need occasional legal help and don’t have an in-house lawyer or legal department.
Priyanka Prakash, JD
Priyanka Prakash is a senior contributing writer at Fundera.
Priyanka specializes in small business finance, credit, law, and insurance, helping businesses owners navigate complicated concepts and decisions. Since earning her law degree from the University of Washington, Priyanka has spent half a decade writing on small business financial and legal concerns. Prior to joining Fundera, Priyanka was managing editor at a small business resource site and in-house counsel at a Y Combinator tech startup.