When it comes to starting a new business, every business owner is bound to complete certain paperwork and necessary documents which are mandatory in order to ascertain their legibility. So, no matter what industry your business is, getting legal support can really put you on a safe side.

And this is exactly what LegalShield does – helping businesses in the United States and Canada with consulting and documentation services.

In this article, we shall learn more about the LegalShield firm, the services it renders to small and mid-sized businesses and some of the important advantages and disadvantages of the firm.

In addition to this, we will also look at the alternatives to LegalShield. This will help you decide whose services suit you better, including the cost for the services rendered by the respective firms in the category.

An Overview of LegalShield

Legalshield

LegalShield provides members with quick access to legal counsel and advice from law firms in the U.S. and selected provinces in Canada. Its services include demand letters, contract and document review, representation, estate planning, and more. LegalShield is an online legal service that provides affordable legal coverage for small businesses and individuals.

Instead of paying the steep hourly rates typically charged by law firms, customers can pay a fixed monthly rate for legal representation and advice on a range of issues. The company was founded in 1972 and it currently has over 1.7 million members.

LegalShield’s attorney network covers all 50 states and includes 39 law firms and 900 attorneys, who have an average of 22 years of experience.

This support can be beneficial to help in the case of an unexpected legal matter. For example, if someone is taking legal action against you or you need to issue a cease and desist notice, or as part of the ongoing operations of the business such as help with taxes.

LegalShield seems to offer the most comprehensive set of features at a great price point, with packages and plans suitable to businesses of different sizes and at different stages. Combined with the excellent user experience and innovative features, LegalShield seems to be the strongest competitor in the crowded online legal service market.

LegalShield functions as a membership service which you can join at any time. Unusually though, LegalShield describes themselves as a law firm and membership gives you access to their legal team based in all U.S. states and, of course, in Canada as well.

Services Offered By LegalShield

legalshied services

LegalShield offers a generalized approach to online legal services while offering special packages for small businesses. While LegalShield does offer support for individuals with legal needs, this review focuses on their services for small businesses.

If you have not yet legally formed your business, LegalShield offers an unusually comprehensive set of features to help you. Thus, with LegalShield’s business formation package, you receive:

  • Consultation with a local attorney –They can help you select the right business entity type, the best state filing, and make sure it is set up properly on the first attempt.

  • Business formation documents and filing –Your attorney will create the relevant documentation and file it with the appropriate office on your behalf.

  • A kit and unique business seal –This add-on includes an engraved binder to organize your business documents, far more valuable than it may sound and a custom seal/embosser with your company name, year of formation and state of filing.

As a stand-alone service, this would be valuable enough, however, LegalShield also provides a custom legal plan to protect your business once formed. As of 2019, the list of areas this protection covers is more extensive.

Some of the other services provided by LegalShield include, but are not limited to:

 

  • Legal Consultation

  • Designated Consultation
  • Contract and Document Review

  • Demand Letters

  • Legal Representation

  • Debt Collection Assistance

  • Trial Defence Support

  • Letters and Phone Calls on Clients’ Behalf

In addition to the above services, LegalShield has a separate website called Launch which is offered for the purpose of forming a business. LegalShield also offers personal legal coverage and identity theft coverage to its members/clients.

How Much Does LegalShield Service Cost?

LegalShield pricing has three options for its U.S. clients, which range from $39 to $149 per month. Prices may vary depending on the state where a business is formed.

All plans include legal consultation for an unlimited number of issues. The main difference between the plans is the number of employees.

 

(a) Plan Name: Small Biz 10

Number of Employees: Up to 10

Monthly Pricing: $39

Services include:

  • Unlimited phone consultations (one hour of legal work).
  • 3 phone consultations per year on special legal issues (half-hour calls).
  • 20 documents reviewed per year (up to six in one month, less than 16 pages).
  • 20 calls or letters per year (up to six in one month).
  • 5 debt collection letters per month.
  • 25 % off on attorney’s hourly rate for additional work.

(b) Plan Name: Small Biz 50

Number of Employees: Up to 50

Monthly Pricing: $89

Services include:

  • Unlimited phone consultations (one hour of legal work).
  •  phone consultations per year on special legal issues (half-hour calls).
  • 30 documents reviewed per year (up to six in one month, less than 16 pages).
  • 30 calls or letters per year (up to six in one month).
  • 10 debt collection letters per month.
  • 25 % off on attorney’s hourly rate for additional work.

(c) Plan Name: Small Biz 100

Number of Employees: Up to 100

Monthly Pricing: $149

Services include:

  • Unlimited phone consultations (one hour of legal work).
  • 3 phone convention per year on special legal issues (half-hour calls).
  • 40 documents reviewed per year (up to six in one month, less than 16 pages).
  • 40 calls or letters per year (up to six in one month).
  • 15 debt collection letters per month.
  • 25% off on attorney’s hourly rate for additional work.

(d) Home Business Supplement

Monthly Pricing: Additional $9.95 per month

Services include:

  • Unlimited phone consultations (up to 1 hour of legal work).
  • 2 phone consultations per year on special legal issues (up to half-hour calls).
  • 3 documents reviewed per month (less than 16 pages).
  • 6 calls or letters per year (up to six in one month).
  • 3 debt collection letters per month.
  • IRS audit help.

(e) Trial Defence Supplement

Monthly Pricing: Additional $9.95 per month

Service includes:

Pre-trial and trial preparation work if you have to defend yourself or your business in court.

(f) Business Formation

Cost: Starts at $145, plus additional fees for state filing.

(g) Registered Agent

Cost: $120 annually

No matter which plans you choose, your legal work will be handled by a law firm within LegalShield’s network. However, not all law firms are providing all the benefits listed under each plan. Prices may also vary slightly based on your location.

Members may also purchase the GoSmallBiz Supplement for an additional price of $14.95 per month. This package includes services such as unlimited business consultation, business coaching, business tools (e.g., DIY website builder, digital marketing dashboard) and business courses.

LegalShield’s membership fees are significantly lower than the standard hourly rates in traditional law firms. Clients can easily contact their lawyer through a toll-free number instead of personally visiting their firm, which can be costly and time-consuming.

LegalShield members may be assigned to different lawyers for separate legal concerns. However, LegalShield ensures that these lawyers will be from the same provider law firm in order to provide clients with quality legal service with every attorney they work with.

Looking At Merits and Demerits of LegalShield

Pros:

Home Business Supplement

LegalShield is the only online legal service among those we reviewed to offer a home business supplement. This can be added onto any other legal plan for an additional $9.95 per month. This is an affordable way for freelancers and consultants to protect themselves, their families, and their businesses with the same plan.

Debt Collection Assistance

LegalShield is the only one to offer specific debt collection assistance. At your request, your lawyer will send debt collection letters each month to companies that haven’t paid you on time. Unpaid invoices is one of the leading reasons for small business cash flow shortfalls, so this service can be very helpful in ensuring that your customers pay you.

Trial Defence Services

LegalShield is the only legal service to offer trial defense services and trial preparation work if your business is taken to court. This can save you thousands of dollars and lower the stress of being sued.

Consistent, Quality Work

While LegalShield does not guarantee that you will work with the same attorney for every legal matter, you will work with the same law firm. That means the lawyers will get to know your business, and there will be some continuity in the quality of work done on your behalf. LegalShield even provides a Member Bill of Rights, which specifically outlines the service quality you can expect from your law firm.

Mobile App

legalshied services

LegalShield has an app for iOS and Android mobile platforms that can be helpful to business owners who need legal assistance on the go. You can ask legal questions or access legal forms through the LegalShield app, saving you a trip to your desktop or laptop.

Other advantages:

  • A significant advantage of LegalShield is the inclusion of unlimited consultation call time. You also receive free reviews of documents up to 15 pages in length, a potentially valuable addition. and Other online legal service providers limit consultation call time.

  • While your business legal plan may be fairly extensive, it does not preclude legal issues emerging either in your personal or professional life. However, LegalShield provides 25% off additional legal services whether personal or business-related.

  • Online legal services such as LegalShield help small businesses save money on their legal costs and get affordable help when they need it or even get incorporated. They also offer business owners peace of mind, safe in the knowledge that their legal work is being handled appropriately and that if anything unexpected should happen, they can call upon legal assistance. LegalShield offers several services for small business owners, including ongoing prepaid legal services and filing to start a business as an LLC, C Corp, S Corp, etc.

  • For a nominal monthly fee, clients have access to ask legal questions and get professional advice. For no additional charge, LegalShield will provide services such as writing a letter on the client’s behalf to try to resolve a legal issue. If the issue needs to go further, such as filing a suit, the firm provides a referral at a discounted rate.

Cons:

No Trial Membership or Money-Back Guarantee

Competitors of LegalShield offer a trial membership or money-back guarantee. For instance, Rocket Lawyer offers a seven-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee. LegalZoom offers a 60-day money-back guarantee. But with LegalShield, you can’t try it before you buy it or get a refund, so make sure you carefully read the details of the plan you are purchasing. If you decide you no longer need LegalShield after a few months of using it, you can always cancel your subscription by contacting customer support.

Slow Website

LegalShield’s website is not the easiest to navigate and it can be slow at times. Fortunately,  once you purchase your plan, you will not need to access the site very often. You can directly call your lawyer or visit the partner law firm’s website.

Limits to Legal Plan

Just as with any online legal service, there are limits to what you get with a monthly subscription to a LegalShield plan. These include limits on the lawyer’s time as well as page limits for document review. You will end up paying more if your legal work goes beyond the limits.

In addition, not all law firms and lawyers participate in all benefits. Some benefits are up to the lawyer’s and the firm’s discretion. This means that you may not enjoy all the features of each plan listed in the pricing table above.

Poor Customer Service

Some online reviews of LegalShield contain complaints about poor customer service by their clients/members.

A Few Alternatives to LegalShield

LegalShield is a popular service in the United States and parts of Canada. However, there are other similar firms in the same category that have stepped up in the competition, which has thus, led to offering alternatives to LegalShield for small and mid-sized businesses.

Both LegalZoom and RocketLawyer offer a range of features suitable both when setting up your business entity (like LLC filing or incorporation) and for when it is up and running for either planned or unexpected legal help. The price points are broadly comparable and the services similar, although LegalShield edges out the competition when it comes to emergency access with their 24/7 emergency support combined with their app.

For legal help with business formation, you might also consider incfile.com who specializes in that area, although their range of expertise and the uniqueness of their offering decline once your business is established relative to their competitors.

IncFile: For those who require legal documents and business formation filing fast can opt for IncFile services. Their price range starts at $49.

LegalZoom: For businesses that need quick access to legal forms, advise and LLC filing. Their price range starts at $79.

Conclusion

LegalShield seems to offer the most comprehensive set of features at a great price point, with packages and plans suitable to businesses of different sizes and at different stages. Combined with the excellent user experience and innovative features, LegalShield seems the strongest competitor in the crowded online legal service market.

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