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Nolo Reviews 2018: Pros, Cons, & Best Alternatives

Priyanka Prakash

Senior Staff Writer at Fundera
Priyanka is a senior staff writer at Fundera, reporting on all things small business. She also collects, analyzes, and reports on data to help business owners make better decisions. Previously managing editor at Fit Small Business, she's also a licensed attorney who served as general counsel at a Y Combinator startup. Priyanka's writing has been featured in Inc., CNBC, and other top tier publications. When she isn't writing, Priyanka loves to explore NYC with her husband and daughter.

Nolo is one of the oldest companies in the legal services space, founded in 1971 by two attorneys. With more than 1 million visitors to the site each month, Nolo’s goal is to make legal information accessible to everyone and to publish legal content in plain English instead of legalese.

Here is a summary of the legal services available on Nolo:

  • Find legal software, books, ebooks, and articles.
  • Create custom legal documents and contracts.
  • Find a local lawyer who can help with your case.
  • Create an LLC, corporation, or nonprofit.

Nolo.com belongs to a network of 11 other consumer and business legal sites, including EmploymentLawFirms.com, AllLaw.com, and LawFirms.com.

Nolo Pricing

Here’s a summary of Nolo law services and pricing:  

Service Nolo Cost
Lawyer network to find an attorney
Free
Informational articles and guides
Free
Business books, ebooks, and software
$25 to $40
Custom legal forms
Single forms range from $9-15. For unlimited editing and changes, it’s $30-44 per year.
Form an LLC
$99 plus state fees ($299 for expedited filing)
Form a Corp (outsourced to Incorporate.com)
Starts at $99 plus state fees
Form a nonprofit (outsourced to LegalZoom)
Starts at $99 plus state fees

 

Nolo offers a range of self-help legal resources at an affordable cost. The reasons most people visit Nolo—to find a local lawyer or access the informational articles—are free. If you’d like to get in-depth guidance on a legal topic, then you can purchase a book or ebook, which are in the $25-$40 range, depending on the topic. These books do a deep dive on a legal matter, such as the benefits of structuring your business as an LLC or understanding common business contractual terms.

If you need something more custom, you can create legal forms and contracts. Some of these documents are priced on an individual basis, but some you can purchase an annual subscription. The subscription lets you make unlimited changes to the form, make duplicates, and view and print it multiple times. The cost of the yearly subscription ($30-$44) works out to about the cost of a cup of coffee each month, making it a great value if you think you’ll be using certain forms, such as promissory notes or NDAs, multiple times each year.

For business formation, Nolo has their own product for creating an LLC, which is the most popular business structure among small businesses. However, for corporations and nonprofits, they don’t have an in-house product—they have outsourced business formation to other websites.     

Nolo Pros

Attorney-Authored Informational Articles

Nolo has one of the richest collections of legal information on the internet. They have thousands of articles about legal topics, most of them authored by lawyers or other legal professionals. They are easy to understand and contain step-by-step instructions on how to accomplish different legal tasks. These articles, house in Nolo’s Legal Encyclopedia, are a great way to get an overview of a legal topic and to find a starting point for further information. There are sections on the encyclopedia devoted to business formation and small business law.

Ideal If You’ll be Using the Same Form Multiple Times

If you find yourself using the same legal forms over and over again, then Nolo can be a great value. For $30-$44 per year, depending on the form, you can re-edit, duplicate, re-download, and re-print your form multiple times. For example, if you use the same NDA with every new hire or use a variation of the same contract with every supplier, then this works out to a great value.

Great for People Who Prefer Offline Legal Support

In the days of cloud and online access, it can be hard to find offline legal help anymore unless you visit a law library. Fortunately, Nolo still offers many of their legal resources and guides in physical book form. Each book contains step-by-step instructions and relevant legal forms, and the content is updated to the current year. At $25-$40 per book, it’s also a great value for people who prefer offline legal help.

nolo reviews

Nolo Cons

Business Formation Services Are Outsourced

Many competitors of Nolo offer business formation services that make it quick and simple to file formation paperwork for a corporation, LLC, or nonprofit business. Nolo has its own LLC formation tool, but they don’t have an internal option for starting a corporation or nonprofit.

They outsource corporation filings to Incorporate.com, and they outsource nonprofit filings to LegalZoom. These are both good services in their own right, but it would make for a better customer experience to have these available directly on the Nolo platform.

Nolo Customer Service

Nolo customer support is available via phone or email on the contact page. Phone support is available Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. PT.

Summary of Nolo Online Reviews

Nolo gets mostly positive online reviews.

Positive Reviews

What people liked the most about Nolo was that they could use it as a one-stop shop for all of their legal needs. Businesses used it to form their business, create legal forms, find a business attorney, and track down helpful books and resources. The quality of the forms, books, and information is high because all content is authored or approved by a lawyer. People especially liked that the information was provided in clear language, not confusing legalese.

Negative Reviews

The main common thread in negative reviews was poor customer service. The Nolo help desk wasn’t able to resolve some problems related to overbilling, printing issues, and editing issues. Keep in mind when looking at reviews that some of the reviews aren’t from small business customers. They are from lawyers who used Nolo’s service to get leads.

nolo reviews

Nolo Competitors & Alternatives

Nolo offers a great solution for people who want affordable access to legal help. However, there are a lot of competitors in this space that might be a better fit for cost or the types of legal services they provide.

Here are some of the leading alternatives to Nolo:

Best Nolo Alternative to Find a Local Lawyer: Avvo

Nolo has a lawyer database that will put you in touch with attorneys in their network. The way it works: You type in your business’s contact info and a summary of your legal problem, and Nolo will connect you with three lawyers in that area of expertise.

If you’re looking to find a local lawyer, though, Avvo may be a better option. They have a much larger lawyer database than Nolo. For example, Nolo lists just 60 business lawyers and law firms in New York, while Avvo lists over 5,000! While the number of lawyers in Avvo’s directory may seem overwhelming, you can sort by zip code, years of experience, practice area, and client reviews to find the lawyer who’s the best fit for you and your business.

Best Nolo Alternative for Regular Legal Help: LegalZoom

Nolo is a good option for businesses that need the occasional legal form or ebook. However, if you need more frequent or more intensive legal support, then a site like LegalZoom would be a better choice. LegalZoom has a business legal plan where you pay a monthly charge for access to legal support. The monthly fee gets you access to unlimited legal forms, document review, and phone sessions with a lawyer. This is a great value if legal help is an ongoing need for you as your business evolves.

Best Nolo Alternative for Business Formation: IncFile

For those who want help launching their business, Nolo is not the best platform. They outsource nonprofit and corporation filings to other companies. While they do offer in-house LLC formation, it’s more expensive than other sites.  

The least expensive option for online business formation is IncFile, which charges only $49.95 plus state filing fees. IncFile also include registered agent service at no additional charge for one year. States require you to name a registered agent when you start your business. A registered agent is a third party that will accept official mail on your business’s behalf.

Bottom Line on Nolo

Nolo is a great self-service legal portal for small business owners. Nolo’s mission has always been to make legal information accessible to everyone, and they are succeeding. Whether you need a legal form, a local lawyer’s help, help incorporating your business, or an in-depth look at a legal topic with an ebook, Nolo offers it all at an affordable price.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Priyanka Prakash

Senior Staff Writer at Fundera
Priyanka is a senior staff writer at Fundera, reporting on all things small business. She also collects, analyzes, and reports on data to help business owners make better decisions. Previously managing editor at Fit Small Business, she's also a licensed attorney who served as general counsel at a Y Combinator startup. Priyanka's writing has been featured in Inc., CNBC, and other top tier publications. When she isn't writing, Priyanka loves to explore NYC with her husband and daughter.

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