Category: General



LegalZoom Files Suit Against NC State Bar

Posted on: October 6th, 2011
The online legal forms provider LegalZoom.com recently filed a lawsuit against the North Carolina State Bar in Wake County Superior Court, requesting that a judge rule that the company is entitled to sell standard legal forms on its website and  be allowed to register in North Carolina to sell prepaid legal services.  See this article on the Raleigh News and Observer website.
 
The underlying issue is really consumer freedom versus consumer protection. Being an actively practicing attorney, one could say I am biased, but the problem is that consumers don’t know enough about the law to make informed choices about putting together estate plans, business entities, contracts, etc. on a website.  Handling your own legal matters through LegalZoom.com is like diagnosing and treating your own illness using WebMD.com.
 
I have talked with folks who have used LegalZoom, and reviewed the documents.  In some cases they might be minimally satisfactory, but again, the problem is that a layperson doesn’t know enough to spot all the defects in the document and the issues that have not been addressed.  I have one client that used LegalZoom before coming to see me.  He told me that someone from LegalZoom called him to help him with his will.  I’m sure that person was not a North Carolina licensed attorney, much less an experienced specialist.  Can you say unauthorized practice of law?
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