Best Online Legal Services in 2021
Legal documents and services for a part of the price.
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Amazing things in life can’t be done without the help of a licensed attorney. Online legal services have made it easier than ever to get the assistance you need right from your own home, a far cry from the days of combing through yellow pages and visiting dreary offices. You may be surprised by how fast and affordable it is to hire a lawyer virtually.
From an estate planning to start a small business, there’s an online legal service for everyone. We reviewed all the options out there and picked the best of the best based on value, price, service quality, reputation, and more.
Best Online Legal Services in 2021
Best Free Online Legal Services Advice Avvo
If you have a single legal question, Avvo is the best place to get free advice from licensed attorneys.
- proposed a question and get advice from one or more attorneys
- Most questions are answered within 12 hours
- No cost for follow-up questions
- Provides a nationwide directory of attorneys
- ConsQuestions are public for anyone to see
- Limited to general information
- Filled with ads
Nothing is further frustrating than paying for an attorney’s time only to find out they can’t help you. If you’re confronted with a legal issue and need some guidance, try Avvo, an online directory of lawyers that also acts as the best place for free legal advice on the internet. According to Avvo, someone gets advice every five seconds on the platform’s Q&A board, usually within 12 hours or less.
To submit a question through Avvo, all you need to do is fill out an online form with your question, any relevant details, and your city and state. Within a few hours, at least one attorney in your area should respond. Avvo encourages follow-up questions as needed, which remain free as long as the attorney is willing and able to answer them.
The main caveat: Answers given on the Avvo Q&A board don’t constitute an official attorney-client relationship and are limited to general legal advice. At some point, you may be recommended to hire a lawyer. In this case, you can use the Avvo directory to find a local attorney or contact the one who answered your question.
Since Avvo’s Q&A board is public, you’ll have to keep in mind that any information you post is available for anyone to see. This does mean that you can search questions asked by others as an additional source of information. It would help if you also kept an eye out for sponsored posts and ads, which can be hard to distinguish from legitimate answers.
LegalShield provides the best online legal service for families and businesses, with reasonable prices, stellar support, and 24/7 convenience.
- ProsServes both individual and small business needs
- Affordable monthly plans
- No long-term contracts
- Offers live chat and emergency consultations
- Available throughout in the United States and Canada
- ConsNot designed for one-time use
- The cost of additional services can vary by location and attorney
- Some pre-existing needs are excluded
According to LegalShield, a single hour with an attorney can cost anywhere between $150 and $400, which is why the company offers a more affordable option through its all-inclusive plan. Monthly membership fees, which start at $24.95 for individuals and $49.00 for small businesses, cover many of the essential services you might need from an attorney at just a fraction of the cost.
LegalShield’s plan includes unlimited consultations and legal document reviews with a licensed attorney. You’ll also benefit from estate planning services, mortgage document preparation, and representation in specific scenarios related to traffic violations, family law, tax audits, and more. If you need a lawyer for other reasons, you’ll get a 25% discount on standard hourly rates. Your spouse and dependent children are also covered at no additional charge.
Small business owners can also get coverage from LegalShield.com with three membership tiers ranging from $49.00 to$169.00 per month. All plans include unlimited consultations and a 25% discount on hourly rates but vary depending on the number of documents you’d like reviewed and the amount of correspondence you need your attorney to send on your behalf.
Although LegalShield uses a monthly subscription model, there’s no long-term commitment. Cancel anytime and get a prorated refund for any days not used. However, you should know that certain benefits don’t apply to pre-existing situations; for example, if you sign up for LegalShield the day after you receive a ticket, you won’t be able to use the plan’s traffic violation benefits.
Best Self-Service Documents LegalZoom
LegalZoom uses legal documents painless with simple online forms and low prices starting at just $29. You won’t find a better self-service experience.
- ProsStraightforward, flat-rate pricing
- Excellent phone support
- 60-day satisfaction guarantee
- Memberships available
- ConsDifferent pricing options can be confusing
- Not all documents are viewable online
- The extra cost for filing assistance
Whether you’re preparing your estate or renting out a property, LegalZoom makes it fast and painless to get the documents you need. The self-service platform offers customized legal documents for as little as $29. Most documents only take some minutes to fill out online and are then made available for download or sent to you by mail.
LegalZoom also gives full-service packages with access to a licensed attorney for a set period. For example, the Last Will Estate Plan includes hands-on assistance from a lawyer to create your last will, financial power of attorney, living will, plus one year of ongoing legal guidance related to your estate. The price is $179 for a single adult or $279 for a couple.
While many platforms offer comparable services to LegalZoom, the company shines in customer service. Phone support representatives are available 14 hours per day during the week and nine hours per day on weekends. Every document includes unlimited revisions for anywhere from a week to several months. If you’re not happy with the very final product, contact customer service within 60 days for a full refund.
Best for Finding a Lawyer FindLaw
FindLaw’s directory lists more than 17,000 attorneys in 119 practice areas, making it the best place to find a lawyer online.
- Persists attorneys in all 50 states
- Searchable by location and legal issue
- Easy to find free consultations
- Free online resources
- ConsLimited support options
- Many attorneys have few or no reviews
- Doesn’t include disciplinary information
All legal issue requires a different type of attorney, and the best place to find them all is FindLaw. The online directory lists more than 17,000 U.S. attorneys in 119 specific law areas, making it easy to find the most qualified practitioner for your case.
To get started with FindLaw, enter your legal issue and geographic location, and you’ll be presented with a list of qualified attorneys. If you prefer to speak with someone who offers free consultations, FindLaw gives you this option as a search filter. You can also narrow results by language if the person in need of representation doesn’t speak English as their primary language.
Aside from their attorney directory, FindLaw also has a free online library of legal resources. You’ll find a state-by-state encyclopedia that explains important laws in simple terms for those without a law degree. FindLaw’s guides on processes like forming an LLC and filing for bankruptcy can help you decide whether hiring an attorney is necessary.
Best for Startup Businesses Incfile
Starting a business? Get the best legal support from Incfile, beginning with a free LLC filing.
- Paros offers a free LLC filing
- Incorporate in any U.S. state
- Choose from three customizable packages.
- Includes lifetime alerts before essential filing dates
- ConsFree LLC filing doesn’t include state fees.
- Limited phone support hours
- Payments are higher in some states than in others.
From taking a type of legal entity to staying in compliance, Incfile is the best online standard service to guide startups through every stage of growth. Since 2004, the company has helped more than half a million small businesses get started and keep running smoothly.
Incfile allows its customers three packages: Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Pricing is determined by adding Incfile’s service fee to state filing fees. This means the total price you’ll pay depends on the type of entity and the state you decide to start your business in. For example, the Gold package costs $199 for an LLC in Arkansas but $354 to create the same business in New York.
Once you’ve started your business, Incfile continues to give value by guiding you through annual compliance obligations and other necessary procedures. Gold members can take advantage of bookkeeping, banking, and tax consultation services; Platinum members also receive contract templates, expedited filing, and a domain name and business email with their fees.
Best for Complex Needs Rocket Lawyer
Most online legal services are relatively standardized, but Rocket Lawyer’s on-call attorneys are the best choice for complex matters.
- ProsOffers both memberships and à la carte services
- Members get up to 40% off fees for complex issues
- Available in five countries
- Free seven-day trial
- ConsToo complicated for those with simple needs
- Higher membership fees
- No weekend support
Rocket Lawyer is the next step up if standard online services haven’t met your legal needs. The company offers a wide array of solutions to individual and business customers in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and the Netherlands.
With Rocket Lawyer, you can choose to purchase services à la carte or sign up for a monthly membership. Memberships cost $39.99 per month and include unlimited documents, answers to legal questions, and 30-minute consultations on new issues. This can quickly pay for itself, as fees for non-members range from $39.99 for a single document to $59.99 for a 30-minute consultation.
Members who aren’t satisfied with the scope of Rocket Lawyer’s listed services can benefit from Rocket Lawyer On Call. Here’s how it works: if your legal issue can’t be answered online, Rocket Lawyer will put you in touch with the right attorney for a 30-minute phone consultation. Those with complex problems that require further legal services can choose to continue working with that attorney at 40% off their hourly rate or 10% off their flat fee.
Online legal services are often more affordable and more comfortable than standard attorneys, although they have their limitations. There’s no want to pay hundreds of dollars for a single will, for example, when you can create your own online for less than $100. At the very least, online legal services are a great place to get started with free or low-cost advice before committing support to long-term legal representation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Talk to a Lawyer for Free?
You can commonly speak to a lawyer for free by using an online Q&A board or scheduling a free consultation. However, you should note that these interactions aren’t considered an official attorney-client relationship. For anything more than general advice, you’ll need to pay the lawyer for their time.
Should I Hire a Lawyer to Form an LLC?
Forming an LLC doesn’t require hiring a lawyer, but it may be a good idea in some circumstances. For example, if you’re unsure that an LLC is the right type of thing to form, you should review all your options with an attorney. It’s also worth using an unbiased legal representative if the LLC will have many members acting as equal partners.
What Should a Simple Will Cost?
In summary, you shouldn’t pay more than $100 for a simple will through an online legal service. With LegalZoom, a personalized will price $89. But, if you pay LegalShield’s $24.95 monthly membership fee, you’ll get a choice written by a licensed attorney at no additional cost.
Our list of the best online legal services was chosen from a pool of over a dozen providers offering documents, consultations, and referrals to local attorneys. We carried out our review with the mindset that online legal services should be affordable, safe, and trustworthy. In addition to comparing pricing for services, we also heavily weighed customer reviews and complaints about any company.