Online Legal Services: Top Companies on the Market
If you were to ask a hundred people to describe lawyers to you, most of them would probably use the word “expensive” at least a couple of times. Indeed, lawyers’ hourly rates can put a hefty dent in your monthly budget, yet there’s still no guarantee you’ll get the result you’re after. So, is there an alternative to this? Thankfully, yes, in the form of online legal services.
There are dozens of capable companies on the web that can provide you with clearly defined and affordable legal services. To help you choose the perfect one for you, we’ve listed all of our top candidates and highlighted their main features. Make sure you read it so you can make an informed decision.
Top 7 Online Legal Service Options
Whether you’re searching for high-quality online legal documents, planning to form an LLC, or simply in need of a helping hand from a law professional, Rocket Lawyer should be your go-to company. With more than 20 million satisfied clients and a perfect A+ score on the BBB, you can’t go wrong here. The price is an off-putting factor, but if you need internet legal services on a regular basis, the $39.99 monthly premium membership might be your best option. Read Review
- •Glowing user reviews
- •Good network of lawyers
- •Extensive library of documents
Incfile owes a huge chunk of its online fame to the fact that it provides a free service. Not counting state fees, you can actually form your business for free and get a year’s worth of registered agent services. All the packages also include indefinite online legal research services to check name availability, as well as free business tax consultation. To unlock more options and speed up the formation process, you can switch to pricier packages starting at $149 per month. Read Review
- •No business formation fee
- •Free registered agent services for a year
- •Lifetime alerts
LegalNature is completely straightforward and honest. You won’t find much in the way of service diversity, but you also won’t have to worry about hidden fees or suspicious activities. With an A+ rating on BBB and a host of positive reviews on the web, LegalNature clearly earns its place among the top ten online legal services out there. The pricing system for library access is definitely peculiar, but it will provide you with some outstanding discounts. Read Review
- •Affordable business formation prices
- •Easy on-site guide
- •Online order tracking
Launched almost half a century ago, LegalShield is a legal services company that provides comprehensive but affordable legal coverage to individuals and small business owners. Offering its services across Canada and the United States, the company has partnered with 39 reputable law firms. Customers pay a flat monthly fee for advice on a wide range of legal issues and legal representation. Read Review
- •Unlimited consulting
- •Trial defense services
- •Debt collections letters
Launched almost five decades ago, Nolo has established itself as one of the most reputable providers in the legal services space. The company offers a comprehensive library of legal guides and a huge online marketplace for educational resources. It also has a searchable network of more than 30,000 local attorneys and provides business formation services. Read Review
- •Huge library of free educational resources
- •Fee-free searches for attorneys
- •Business formation services
LegalMatch was created to help individuals and business owners seeking legal counsel find attorneys in their area. The platform has been operating for two decades, during which millions of legal advice-seekers have used it to share their cases for free and find attorneys who specialize in a particular practice area in less than 24 hours. Read Review
- •Large network of local attorneys
- •Easy-to-use interface
- •Presenting your case is free
Founded in 2012, UpCounsel is an online marketplace for legal services. The platform collaborates with a network of more than 5,000 top-ranked attorneys. Its services are mainly geared to the needs of entrepreneurs and small-business owners. UpCounsel is well known for its fast service, easy-to-use online management platform, a selection of free legal documents and forms, and a library of comprehensive articles and educational resources. Read Review
- •Top-tier attorneys
- •Easy-to-use platform
- •Free legal forms
Choosing the Best Online Legal Service Company - Our Methodology
Before we could decide which companies belonged on our exclusive list, we needed a reliable system that would filter out subpar services. For that purpose, we’ve created a unique methodology that helps us assess each candidate on various aspects of its service. Here’s what we base our online legal services reviews on.
First of all, we focus our attention on the entire scope of services the company has to offer. Can it provide you with easy business formation or help you draw up a will? Are any consultations with a lawyer included in the package and are they worth what you pay? We try to evaluate the overall quality of the services and point out any specific flaws we come across.
It’s not uncommon for companies like these to specialize in certain aspects of the trade. Maybe the website mainly provides you with high-quality online documents and lets you take care of the rest. Perhaps it guides you through the entire LLC formation process with some of the lowest rates in the industry. Whatever it is, we’ll be sure to point it out in our online legal services review.
It’s fair to say that reputation plays a huge role in choosing the right company for your legal needs, but what do we exactly mean by that? We take a look at the company’s score on the BBB, dig up any well-reasoned complaints, and generally listen to what users have to say. Obviously, online reviews aren’t always completely trustworthy, but they can give you a pretty good idea of what you’re getting yourself into.
We could say that customer support is essential for pretty much every industry, but that’s an understatement when it comes to online legal service providers. You need to know that you have a reliable partner who will respond to your questions in a timely manner and make sure your legal requirements are met. We check to see how quickly team members respond to inquiries, how efficient they are at their jobs, and how friendly they are.
At the end of our reviews, we look at the price and present you with what we feel is the best value package. Most of these services work through subscription plans, but you might also stumble upon various additional fees, costs, and upselling options. Limited online attorney services are usually included in the plans, but they could also set you back extra under the radar. Our aim is to give you a clear picture of what you’re getting for your money.
Best Online Legal Services in 2021
- Rocket Lawyer - Best for lawyer consultations
- Incfile - Best for business formation
- LegalNature - Best for legal documentation
- LegalShield - Best for help with debt collection
- Nolo - Best for free legal resources
- LegalMatch - Best for finding a local attorney
- UpCounsel - Best for complex legal needs
The Best Online Legal Service: Detailed Reviews
On Official Website
- • Glowing user reviews
- • Good network of lawyers
- • Extensive library of documents
Rocket Lawyer is another all-encompassing legal helper with a slight emphasis on online lawyer services. The company was founded in 2008 and has since worked with more than 20 million clients, quickly climbing through the ranks. Today, its service includes the customization of various legal documents, business formation (LLC and corporations), and attorney consultations on any topic. Thanks to the company’s highly developed network of capable lawyers, you can get quick answers to your burning questions for a much lower fee than you would with a traditional lawyer.
If you’re in need of high-quality customizable documents, Rocket Lawyer.com has an extensive library covering everything from business management and real estate to personal matters and last wills. As a Premium member, you get full access to the best online legal documents and an easy way to personalize, download, and share them. There’s even the dedicated RocketSign system that allows you to create signatures and store them safely for later use.
The company has glowing reviews on the web with a perfect A+ score on BBB and average score of around 4.5 on various other rating sites. Clients have nothing but praise for Rocket Lawyer customer service, as well as the responsiveness of lawyers in the system. In terms of reputation, this company really offers some impeccable lawyer services online.
The Rocket Lawyer LLC formation fee is a one-time $99 payment, which doesn’t include essential elements like EIN or the services of a registered agent. Although it’s a bigger commitment, a much more sensible option would be to sign up for the membership at $39.99 per month, including a free trial. This unlocks the entire library of documents, limited legal consultancy services online, and business formation services at the same time. If you need more than one thing, this is a great deal.
- RocketSign function
- Incorporation services
- Helpful customer support
On Official Website
- • No business formation fee
- • Free registered agent services for a year
- • Lifetime alerts
Instead of dispersing its energy across dozens of different legal services, Incfile only has one job and it does it well. Since its foundation in 2004, the company has managed to incorporate more than a quarter of a million businesses in all 50 states. However, what makes Incfile stand out from all other online legal services the market has to offer is the price. Incfile will help you form an LLC free of charge (not including the state’s mandatory fees). This fact alone allows it to take on some of the most popular companies on the web - like Incfile vs LegalZoom - and steal those clients away.
So, where’s the catch? Well, the company basically uses this promotion as a gateway to its more expensive packages. This basic bundle comes with free Incfile registered agent services for the first year, after which you need to pay $119 yearly to keep it going. The best online legal forms - like the operating agreement and banking resolution, which are both necessary for a business to function properly - are unlocked at the next-tier package for $149. The Platinum option speeds everything up and registers a domain name for free.
No matter what package you opt for, you’ll get lifetime alerts about your company to your email and phone. That way you won’t miss out on any important deadlines. This level of client commitment is something users appreciate and praise. However, to claim the title of the best online legal service, the company needs to improve its customer support. Incfile’s BBB accreditation was recently revoked due to unanswered Incfile complaints, which puts a smudge on the company’s otherwise excellent track record.
- Extensive on-site knowledge base
- Online order tracking
- Free company name searches
On Official Website
- • Affordable business formation prices
- • Easy on-site guide
- • Online order tracking
LegalNature.com offers a huge selection of documents for individuals and businesses but can also help you with business formation at a very affordable price. This online legal services platform has been around for nearly a decade and has managed to build a reputation for being a reliable and trustworthy legal companion.
The library of LegalNature documents found on the site is divided into products for individuals, businesses, and landlords. You can find anything from property purchase agreements and special warranty deeds to arbitration agreements and terms of service. The website will automatically show you the most popular choices, but there’s nothing stopping you from browsing through the entire selection. Once you’ve made your decision, the website will guide you through the creation process, step by step, using the on-site wizard. It’s fast and easy, and you can preview your document at any time.
Now, if you’re looking for the best online legal services for small business formation, you’ll probably be drawn in by the price. The LegalNature LLC creation fee is $40, which is among the more affordable options on the market. The application process is straightforward. You fill out the fields as they come, while the list on the right gives you a clear overview of all the features. There are no hidden fees, and the company will constantly remind you to review your choices.
The prices for the documentation library are a bit steeper. If you decide to go with an annual plan, you will pay $84 per year for the Standard package. However, if you decide to pay monthly, the same plan will cost you an extremely hefty $38.95 a month. Various online legal forms reviews mention this annual discount of over 80% as a peculiarity.
Note that the Standard plan only lets you use one document of each type. If you want to unlock unlimited options with LegalNature Pro, you’ll have to pay an eye-watering $499 per year. Of course, it’s also possible to find individual prices for each document, but they don’t come cheap.
- User-friendly interface
- Solid reputation
- Responsive customer support
On Official Website
- • Unlimited consulting
- • Trial defense services
- • Debt collections letters
LegalShield was launched almost half a century ago to make legal representation affordable and accessible to anyone through a proprietary network of law firms. The company is now partnered with 39 law firms operating in the United States and Canada. It has provided online legal assistance to more than 1.7 million businesses along with more than 4.4 million individuals and their families.
To get access to LegalShield’s highly experienced attorneys, simply choose a service plan and fill out a short application form. The company charges all of its members a flat monthly fee for legal-service plans catering to business owners and individuals.
Priced at $24.95 per month, LegalShield’s personal legal plan covers you, your spouse, and your children. It comes with a set of features that can help you overcome any legal issues you may stumble upon. The list of online legal services offered in this plan includes providing advice and consultation on an unlimited number of legal issues, representing you in court, and reviewing and drafting contracts and other documents.
LegalShield's small-business legal plans start at $35.95 per month. Depending on the number of employees your company has, you’ll be able to choose from the company’s three service tiers. Each level delivers a comprehensive set of features such as the ability to speak with your attorney on an unlimited number of business-related legal issues. Additional legal services for small-business owners include writing letters or making calls on your behalf, reviewing documents, drafting contracts, and defending you in civil lawsuits.
What makes LegalShield stand out from the competition is that it offers assistance with debt collection. Depending on your membership tier, the platform’s lawyers will write five to 15 debt-collection letters each month to help you overcome cash-flow issues and recover what is owed to you,
In addition to providing legal services to business owners whose companies already are up and running, LegalShield can also help you form an LLC, partnership, sole proprietorship, corporation, or non-profit. As one of the best legal advice websites, LegalShield offers a huge library of free online resources that’s accessible to everyone in addition to its affordable company-formation services.
Created to provide support through the life of your business, LegalShield offers several add-ons, including identity theft protection, website builder tools, and workflow management tools.
Finally, we think it’s important to mention that LegalShield has been BBB-accredited since 1995 and holds an A+ rating. In addition to expressing support for its comprehensive service plans, users praise the site's multi-channel customer support.
- 24/7 emergency assistance
- Business-formation services
- Flat monthly fees
On Official Website
- • Huge library of free educational resources
- • Fee-free searches for attorneys
- • Business formation services
Founded in 1971 by two attorneys, Nolo is one of the oldest and most reputable brands in the legal services market. The company has evolved into a virtual legal assistance platform that offers access to a huge library of legal forms, software solutions, books, and ebooks. All information shared on Nolo’s website is authored by legal professionals. As one of the most popular platforms for legal services, the site hosts more than a million visitors each month.
Created to make legal information accessible and understandable to everyone, Nolo offers a comprehensive library of articles and instructional guides free of charge. Advanced resources such as business books, ebooks, and software solutions will cost you from $25 to $40 per item. As one of the best online lawyer services sites, Nolo also offers custom legal forms starting at $9 per item (or $30 and up for a year of unlimited changes).
Should you decide not to pursue legal actions on your own, the platform gives you a chance to find the right attorney within its huge lawyer network.
You can also turn to Nolo to help you start a new business. If you plan to form an LLC, for example, that service will cost you $99 (or $299 for expedited filing) plus state filing fees. The company also offers assistance with forming corporations and nonprofits. Keep in mind that these services are provided by third-parties and start at $99 plus state filing fees.
Advertised as a legal encyclopedia and considered one of the best legal advice websites, Nolo is also a rich marketplace for legal resources. Considering that the product base can be filtered by type and topic, while the network of attorneys is searchable by state and practice area, finding the right resource or expert is quick and easy.
Accredited by the Better Business Bureau, this online legal service provider has an A+ rating. Most Nolo reviews online point out that the platform can be used as a one-stop shop for many different legal needs. High-quality legal forms and educational resources are provided in clear language.
- Wide selection of affordable software solutions and legal forms
- Multi-channel customer support
- Informative articles authored by legal professionals
On Official Website
- • A large network of local attorneys
- • Presenting your case is free
- • Easy-to-use interface
As you have probably guessed from its name, LegalMatch is a platform designed to match individuals looking for legal counsel with the right attorneys. It’s an excellent choice if you are hoping to find online legal services in your city or region. LegalMatch has been operating for more than two decades and helped more than four million legal advice seekers share their cases.
Here’s how to find a lawyer through this platform in three simple steps:
First, you’ll need to post your case. Start by choosing a legal category. Some of the options include family; criminal defense; business; personal injury; employment; immigration; trusts, estates, and wills; and intellectual property. Next, you’ll need to fill out a 15-minute questionnaire to describe your case. The platform will then automatically match you with the top lawyers in your area. Interested attorneys will start sending you responses in a few hours.
Second, you’ll be given an opportunity to compare the offers by looking at estimated fees, client ratings, and detailed background information about online lawyer service providers willing to work with you.
Third, after shortlisting your favorite responses, you’ll be able to meet with the lawyers for initial consultations to make sure you’re making the right decision.
The whole process of finding an attorney through LegalMatch is completely free. Those seeking legal counsel are under no obligation to hire any of the attorneys they’ve been matched with through the platform.
Given that the whole process takes only about 24 hours, LegalMatch is a good choice for those looking to get personal or small business legal services as fast as possible.
Another great thing about this platform is that LegalMatch vets all of its attorneys before you ever hear from them. LegalMatch’s lawyer network is huge, and you can search for legal counsel by state or practice area.
As far as pricing goes, lawyers have their own fee structures. Hourly rates can vary widely based on the type of legal help you’re looking for.
To help you understand the legal issues you are dealing with, LegalMatch also offers a comprehensive online law library with thousands of articles containing up-to-date information on more than 220 legal categories.
- Find a local attorney in less than 24 hours
- Huge knowledge base
- Good customer support
On Official Website
- • Access to top-tier attorneys
- • Easy-to-use online management platform
- • Free legal forms
Launched in 2012, UpCounsel is a California-based marketplace for online legal services. Created to help its customers, primarily small business owners and entrepreneurs, find and hire attorneys, the company is well known as a source of high-quality but affordable legal help. Initially, UpCounsel worked only with clients in California and New York. Nowadays, the company has one of the largest lawyer networks in the country and offers its services nationwide.
Getting started with UpCounsel is quick and easy. At the beginning, you’ll be required to share information about your business and legal needs. Rest assured that this online lawyer service platform will keep your data confidential. As soon as you post the job, UpCounsel’s proprietary algorithm will start matching you with thoroughly vetted lawyers who are qualified to deal with the specific legal work you need done. Custom proposals will start arriving in a few hours. You will then have a chance to review the offers and compare them based on hourly rates, previous client reviews, and each lawyer’s experience. You’ll also be able to schedule free phone consultations with the attorneys whose profiles you like the most.
Should you decide to hire one of the professionals you’ve been matched with after reading through online attorney reviews, you’ll be able to do so with a single click. If you don’t like any of the proposals, you can simply walk away.
Note that UpCounsel legal practitioners negotiate their own fees and have unique pricing structures. Keep in mind that UpCounsel will add a 5% maintenance fee on top of the attorney's rate if you decide to proceed with the service.
To give you an idea of how much the attorneys from UpCounsel’s network may charge you, here is a cost estimate for some of the most commonly used business legal services:
- Creating an LLC: $500 on average (including state filing fees)
- Forming a corporation: $1,000 on average (including state filing fees)
- Reviewing contracts and documents: $125-$250/hour
- Employer-sponsored visas: Starting from $2,750
- Human resources and employment law: Starting from $200/hour
- Filing for a trademark: $645 (one class, including state filing fees)
- Filing for a patent: $1,200-$3,200
- General legal counsel for day-to-day matters: $225-$350/hour
This marketplace for legal services also offers a variety of free-to-use legal forms, online resources, and collaboration tools. Should you have problems or need advice, you can get in touch with UpCounsel’s customer support team 24/7.
- Options for complex legal issues
- Wide variety of information resources
- Low prices compared to traditional law firms
Fortunly’s Guide to Online Legal Services: When to Stick with a Traditional Lawyer
Yes, online legal services are fast, inexpensive, and user-friendly. You don’t have to deal with the usual cryptic language of the law, you don’t have to think about the hourly rate that’s costing you a fortune, and you can do everything from the comfort of your home, which is a priceless convenience. However, in some situations, it may be a better option to consult a classic lawyer to make sure you’re doing the right thing. Consider the following situations.
- Making a will - Almost every legal services online portal will offer you the option of creating the best online wills in just a few simple steps. For the most part, this is completely acceptable and recommended. You can fill out a few forms and make a few tweaks to make sure your will is up to your state’s standards. However, if you need a complex set of rules for dividing up your inheritance, if you think that someone might contest it, or if your assets are worth more than the estate tax limits, you should meet up with a professional lawyer and create a safer customized plan.
- Forming a business - The best online legal services for business formation might save you a lot of time and money since the majority of the process is automated. If you can spare yourself this dreadful bureaucracy through online legal advice companies, you should. However, if you’re starting a business with someone and need a reliable way to define the roles, duties, and the relationship, you might need to consult a lawyer face-to-face and create custom agreements. It will prevent any issues in the future.
- Criminal cases - If you’re facing criminal charges or need to deal with aggressive lawsuits, you can’t rely on an online lawyer service to help you out. While it might be possible to find answers to some of your questions, what you really need is professional legal help that can promptly deal with your problems. You may use the internet as an informative source on this matter, but for everything else you should definitely hire a lawyer.
The answer to that question depends on your specific needs. LegalZoom covers a wide range of legal online services from business formation to trademarking, drawing up wills, and offering online lawyer consultations. Rocket Lawyer excels at drawing up legal documents online at affordable prices. If you need an NDA, operating agreement, eviction notice, or purchase intent, you’ll be in good hands. In case you’re primarily interested in business formation, we recommend you give Incfile a try. All of the company’s subscription plans include free registered agent services for a year.
To put it simply, yes. LegalZoom is a completely legal, reliable, trustworthy company with nearly 20 years of experience and an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau. The company can provide you with a lawyer to give you internet legal advice based on your packages and questions. The documents that LegalZoom provides for you can be legally binding if you follow the right procedures and include signatures or official stamps. Note that different states have different laws and document requirements, so some generic templates might not work.
It is highly unlikely that you can get a valid, truthful answer from a qualified professional completely free of charge. You could ask questions on platforms like Quora, but you still need to take responses with a grain of salt. Your best bet for a reliable answer would be legitimate companies that offer legal services online. While it naturally comes at a cost, you can take advantage of free trials or use special discounts to be as kind to your budget as possible. A lot of the time, companies like LegalZoom, Rocket Lawyer, and Incfile include guides and FAQ sections on their websites, which might help your cause.
LegalZoom is a good all-rounder, but you might be better off with Incfile if you’re planning on forming a business. The cheapest Silver package includes only state fees, so it might be the most affordable option. On the other hand, if you need online legal document services, you ought to give Rocket Lawyer a try. For a fairly affordable price, you can get high-quality documents custom-made for your specific purposes. If you don’t mind going with slightly lesser-known brands, you could switch over to ZenBusiness. In terms of LLC formation, ZenBusiness vs LegalZoom is a common comparison, but the former easily takes the crown.
No, Rocket Lawyer is not free, but you can make use of the free trial period for the first seven days. Any documents you create during that time are yours to keep. If you don’t want to pay the subscription to Rocket Lawyer, cancel it before the trial period for your online legal services ends and you’ll be in the clear. To do that, go to your profile account settings and choose the downgrade option. The company will try to offer you a bargain: a $1/month loyalty plan that still allows you to create personal documents. If you don’t want it, just click the “end my benefits” button and you’ll be done with it.