When you think of online legal services, chances are good the first name that pops into your head is LegalZoom. Many consider it to be the industry leader and today we are taking a look at this service: the good, the bad, pricing, and more.
LegalZoom has a great reputation of being a one-stop shop for all your legal needs whether it’s regarding a business, professional, or personal matter. Thought it’s not the cheapest option on the market, LegalZoom offers customers proven reliability, product versatility, and great customer support.
With all this in mind, LegalZoom should be a top contender for your next online legal services provider.
LegalZoom Compared to The Best Online Legal Services
LegalZoom has some of the most versatile service offerings in the online legal services space. Whether you want to form a business, protect your intellectual property, or need family law advice, LegalZoom can help.
For all these reasons and more, we included LegalZoom in our list of best online legal services. Here are our top picks:
- Rocket Lawyer – Best for most
- Incfile – Best for business formation
- LegalZoom – Best for flat fees and versatility
- UpCounsel – Best for complex legal needs
- Avvo – Best for free legal advice
- LegalMatch – Best for locating an attorney near you
LegalZoom: The Good and The Bad
LegalZoom is one of the top providers of online legal services. It has a lot to offer prospective customers. But even the best providers have areas in which they could improve. We’re going to take a look at the pros and cons of LegalZoom’s offerings to help you decide whether it’s the right solution for your business.
Industry Experience: LegalZoom has been leading the online legal services industry for over 20 years. In that time, it’s helped over 2 million entrepreneurs and small business owners turn their dreams of forming their own company into a reality. With this level of experience, you can rest assured that your business’s legal needs are in extremely capable hands.
Diverse Range of Legal Services: If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop for personal, professional, and business legal needs, LegalZoom is the one for you. It offers the most versatile range of service offerings in the industry. From business formation to intellectual property protection, and registered agent services to tax contracts and agreements, LegalZoom has got you covered. You’ll have all the services you need to start and maintain your business at your fingertips when you have LegalZoom on your side.
Affordable Business Advisory Plan: LegalZoom’s Business Advisory Plan offers business owners convenient access to year-round attorney help, for an affordable, flat monthly fee. This plan is perfect for anyone needing regular assistance with contracts and agreements, legal forms and copyrights, or just general legal advice to help protect your business. It’s far more cost-effective than constantly using LegalZoom’s one-off services and it’s also one of the least expensive plans on the market.
Great Customer Support: In the past, reviews on LegalZoom’s customer support have suggested the quality of support was inconsistent and disappointing. However, in recent times, it seems as though they’ve stepped it up a notch. Current customers consistently report excellent customer support, often commending their support representative by name. The support team is friendly, helpful, and extremely knowledgeable – exactly what you want in a support crew.
Extended Customer Support Hours: Aside from the quality of customer support being great, LegalZoom also extends generous support contact hours in comparison to its competitors. You can contact LegalZoom’s support team on all seven days of the week! The US-based support team is available via phone, email, and live chat from 5am to 7pm (PT) Monday through Friday and from 7am to 4pm on weekends.
Lengthy Satisfaction Guarantee Period: While many providers in the online legal service space offer some sort of satisfaction guarantee, nearly none of them give you two months to leverage the offer. If you’re unsatisfied with LegalZoom’s services (with the scope of their duties) they’ll correct the situation or provide a 100% refund on its services, no questions asked.
It’s great to see that LegalZoom stands behind its services like this. After all, they wouldn’t be offering a full refund for so many offerings if they expected most people to take advantage of it. But if you’re not happy, just check the LZ Guarantee terms to confirm eligibility and specific conditions for the services you’re using.
Knowledge of Local Laws: When you access LegalZoom’s services, you can trust they will fit your location in the United States. LegalZoom operates legally in all 50 states, and it has documents that fit individual state laws. Even though LegalZoom operates nationally, it makes use of local attorneys that can ensure you are following local regulations and laws. Laws for forming an LLC vary from state to state, so it is extremely important for LegalZoom to operate in this manner.
Not the Cheapest Service Available: LegalZoom is not the cheapest provider out there, but they certainly aren’t the most expensive either. All of their one-off services are priced on the higher side. For example, the lead-in business formation package starts at $0 plus state fees and it doesn’t really include any advanced or impressive features. In saying that, you are paying for the service of an extremely trustworthy and experienced provider, which is worth a little extra in our books.
Excessive Upsells: In the instance that you’d like to form your business with LegalZoom, you’ll face a series of upsells before you reach the package selection screen. We went through the process and found it quite cumbersome. In fact, the process even assumes that you’ll utilize LegalZooms registered agent service, without providing clear advice on the costs involved. Furthermore, some of the upsells such as an operating agreement and EIN are things that other providers already include in their packages.
Expensive Registered Agent Services: LegalZoom’s registered agent services are some of the most expensive options in the market, at $249 per year. In comparison, most competitors offer registered agent services for around $150 per year, with some even dipping as low as $100. Furthermore, providers such as Incfile and ZenBusiness include registered agent services for free for your first year of business.
Slow Turnaround Time: LegalZoom’s business formation turnaround times are quite slow in comparison to its competitors. Other providers out there will process your paperwork on the same day or the next business day. But LegalZoom’s standard processing time is five to 14 days. You’ll have to pay a $99 expedited filing fee for one-day processing in states where this option is even available.
LegalZoom Pricing and Options
LegalZoom offers a wide range of online legal services. The starting rates for LegalZoom’s business formation services are:
- LLC formation: $0 plus state filing fees
- Corporation formation: $149 plus state filing fees
- Registered agent services: $249 per year
These prices certainly aren’t the highest in the industry. But when you take a closer look at the features you’re getting for your money, they don’t offer particularly high value, especially for forming a simple LLC.
For example, the lead-in formation packages include basic features such as comprehensive name search and paperwork filing, online order tracker, lifetime customer support, and digital access to formation documents. In other words, they include the bare minimum.
On the other hand, LegalZoom offers businesses that require ongoing legal assistance affordable access to their Business Advisory Plan. For a flat monthly fee, you’ll have direct access to an attorney to assist with reviewing contracts and agreements, personalized legal advice, and access to dozens of legal forms.
Pricing for the Business Advisory Plan is $39.09 per month over 12 months or $43.17 per month over 6 months.
We’ll expand on the pricing of each one-off service further below, but the key takeaway here is that if you’re looking for the cheapest online legal service provider out there, LegalZoom isn’t the best option for you.
But if you are looking for an experienced and reliable provider that offers excellent customer support and can help you with just about any legal need, LegalZoom is a fantastic option.
LegalZoom LLC Services
In terms of experience, LegalZoom is an industry leader in the LLC formation space, helping more than two million businesses form an LLC.
LegalZoom makes it easy for anyone to get started. The process is super simple and the packages are affordable. Starting your business is as easy as:
- Telling LegalZoom all about your business
- Selecting your preferred business formation package
- Sitting back and relaxing while LegalZoom takes care of preparing and filing your paperwork
You can also use LegalZoom’s free business name availability checker to make sure your preferred business name is available. If you haven’t decided yet, you can skip this step and come back to it later.
There are three different LLC formation plans to choose from:
- Basic – $0 plus state filing fees
- Pro – $249 plus state filing fees
- Premium – $299 plus state filing fees
The Basic package includes your Articles of Organization and name check service.
Paid plans come with an operating agreement, EIN, business license guide, and phone consultations to guide you through the process. Attorney-assisted help is available if you sign up for the Premium LLC formation package.
Regardless of the plan you select, LegalZoom will try to upsell you throughout the checkout process. Truthfully, you don’t need many of these products, so if you want to bootstrap your business formation, skip these offerings. You can always add them in later.
LegalZoom Incorporation Services
LegalZoom is also a popular option for businesses that are looking to incorporate. It helps businesses to form a C Corporation or an S Corporation.
If you’re not sure which option is most suitable for your needs, LegalZoom’s support team is available to offer personalized advice.
Incorporating your business with LegalZoom is just as simple as forming an LLC. You’ll answer LegalZoom’s questions about your business, choose your package option, and LegalZoom will take care of the rest.
LegalZoom’s incorporation packages and pricing are:
- Economy: $149 plus state fees
- Standard: $329 plus state fees
- Express Gold: $349 plus state fees
All plans include business name availability check, incorporation documents and filing, articles of incorporation, and lifetime customer support. They also include a “next steps guide” and peace of mind review. The Standard and Express Gold incorporation packages also include a deluxe organizer, official certificates and seal, and expedited processing.
If you’re willing to pay for the Standard plan, you may as well go ahead and pay the extra $20 for the Express Gold package to also receive rush processing with the Secretary of State and express shipping.
Once again, the main difference between the three plans is the turnaround time. If you’re not in a rush to form your corporation, the Economy plan with its 30-day turnaround will suffice. But if you are pressed for time, go for the Express Gold package for fast processing.
LegalZoom Registered Agent Services
There are no two ways about it–every business needs a registered agent.
Registered agents handle the acceptance of official mail on behalf of your business. This can include things like court documents (if you get served), official state mail, state tax notifications, secretary of state notifications, and annual report notices.
In other words, they help your business to remain compliant and make sure you never miss important filing deadlines.
LegalZoom’s registered agent services start from $249 per year and also include:
- $1 million identity theft protection and credit monitoring
- Unlimited cloud storage for important business documents
- Access to compliance calendar with upcoming critical deadlines
- Coverage of paperwork and fees when switching from a competing RA
It makes sense to use the same service provider to handle your business formation and registered agent needs to keep everything in place.
But if you’re looking for standalone registered agent services, you’ll find cheaper packages elsewhere.
LegalZoom Trademark Search Services
If you’re interested in filing a trademark for your business name or logo, you can use LegalZoom’s trademark search to verify the availability before you apply. This will help you avoid any potential violations, saving you time and money before you officially apply for your trademark.
The process is fairly straightforward and typically can be completed in under 15 minutes. Simply fill out the required forms to tell LegalZoom about your search, and they’ll run a report to see if your mark conflicts with any existing trademarks or pending trademarks. Based on the results of the search, you can decide whether or not to proceed with filing your trademark or if you want to try another option.
There are three different plan tiers for the trademark service, and the price depends on how thorough you want the search to be.
- Federal Search — $199
- Federal, State, and Common Law Search — $299
- WorldScan International Search — $499
At a minimum, you’ll likely want to select the Federal, State, and Common Law search. This covers over 20 million Secretary of State records for identical and similar names. It also covers identical or similar domain names. Basically, if you’re planning to file a trademark within the US, this is what you’ll need. But if your brand is international, you’ll need to opt for the WorldScan search.
LegalZoom Trademark Registration Services
If you want to protect your business name, logo, or slogan, LegalZoom has a simple trademark registration service that you can take advantage of. This helps add protection to your brand and prevent copycats from using your name.
Trademark protection is crucial for any brand in the retail business. If someone is knocking off your products with counterfeits, an official trademark will make it easier to defend your rights and sue anyone in violation of your mark.
This is an attorney-assisted service that costs $599 plus federal filing fees. An attorney will research the trademark for you and handle all of the appropriate filings along the way. If the trademark gets rejected, LegalZoom will cover the $599 fee to register a different mark.
While it’s still up to you to enforce any infringements against your trademark, LegalZoom can make this process much easier for you.
With LegalZoom’s trademark monitoring service, you can get active trademark monitoring and monthly reports. This even includes an advanced search, which covers trademarks with just one or two letters different from yours. These ongoing monitoring plans start at $175 per year.
LegalZoom Copyright Registration
For businesses and creative professionals seeking a fast and simple way to obtain a copyright, LegalZoom has you covered.
Copyrights help you control how your work is used and provide you with the legal protection you need to defend yourself against infringements. LegalZoom has facilitated the delivery of over 90,000 copyrights, so it’s safe to say they have plenty of experience in this space.
This online legal service works really well for protecting things like:
Basically, any written, recorded, or otherwise tangible creative work can be eligible for a copyright.
LegalZoom’s copyright registration starts at just $114 plus federal filing fees. This includes the electronic filing of your application with the United States Copyright Office and a confirmation when the Library of Congress receives it.
This is backed by LegalZoom’s 100% satisfaction guarantee. So if you’re unhappy, you can get a full refund of LegalZoom’s fee within 60 days of your purchase.
LegalZoom Virtual Mail
LegalZoom’s virtual mail solution is perfect for businesses and individuals who value privacy. It’s especially useful for entrepreneurs and home-based businesses, as you won’t have to use your personal address for business correspondence.
Even if you have a traditional office space, LegalZoom’s virtual mailbox adds an additional layer of privacy to your mail. It ensures that nobody, including your employees, can access sensitive documents for your eyes only.
Getting started is easy. It’s just a matter of choosing an address, and LegalZoom takes care of the rest.
Once you’ve set up an account, LegalZoom can receive mail on your behalf. They’ll securely scan your mail so you can access it online from anywhere, which is super convenient for those of you who travel often and don’t always have access to your mailbox.
LegalZoom can filter out junk mail and even shred your mail so it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands once it’s been disposed of.
You can even get packages delivered to your virtual mailbox, with free storage for up to ten days.
There are three different LegalZoom virtual mailbox plans to choose from:
- Starter MailBox – $29 per month
- Essentials MailBox – $39 per month
- Premium MailBox – $79 per month
There are additional fees for things like letter storage after 30 days, check deposits, mail forwarding, and special requests. The biggest difference between the plans is volume and how many recipient names you can include with your address.
Check out our list of the best virtual mailboxes for alternatives to LegalZoom’s service.
How LegalZoom Ranks
LegalZoom is one of the best online legal services on the market today. It’s a reputable and reliable solution for a wide range of different solutions for business, professional, and personal legal needs.
From business formation to registered agent services, attorney consultations, trademark registrations, and estate planning, LegalZoom has it all. Trusted by more than two million users, it’s the most popular online legal service in existence.
It’s worth noting that some of LegalZoom’s services are a bit pricey compared to the competition—specifically when it comes to registered agent services. So if you’re on a tighter budget, you may want to consider looking elsewhere.
See all our top picks here to learn more about LegalZoom alternatives and in-depth reviews on other options in the online legal service space.
Expanding Your Knowledge: LegalZoom
LegalZoom is one of the most experienced business formation providers in the market. It offers versatile legal services, great customer support, and access to ongoing legal advice for a flat monthly fee. Although its one-off services are not the cheapest out there, LegalZoom’s lead-in formation packages allow businesses to form their businesses easily, without breaking the bank.
With this in mind, for those looking for reliability and experience from an industry leader, LegalZoom is the perfect option for your business formation and online legal service needs.