LegalZoom Responds to My Post of 9-27-10

Estate Planning

Boy, that was fast! I stand corrected by LegalZoom’s Senior Counsel, Kenneth Friedman.  The Attorney General of Washington State did not file suit against LegalZoom, but did institute an investigation of their business practices.  The investigation resulted in LegalZoom agreeing, in a document filed in Thurston County Superior Court,  that it would not engage in certain practices.  LegalZoom does not admit having engaged in any such practices.
Click “Continue Reading” to view Friedman’s email, which includes his response to what I said about the North Carolina State Bar position on LegalZoom.
To Whom It May Concern,
I recently came across your blog post entitled “Is LegalZoom Selling Your Personal Information?” I am disappointed with your post and feel that it did not accurately portray what occurred with LegalZoom in the State of Washington. 
LegalZoom freely entered into a mutual agreement with the State of Washington, in which the State Attorney General made no findings of any wrongdoing.  The Attorney General of Washington did not file “suit” as you claim in your blog post.  The provisions of the agreement were completely consistent with the manner in which LegalZoom has always, and will continue to, conduct its business.  Although your post states that LegalZoom promised to refrain some certain activities, you failed to mention that LegalZoom has ALWAYS refrained from these activities.  In essence, LegalZoom agreed to continue to not perform acts that it was never doing in the first place.  We hope all companies in our industry follow these ground rules.    
Most importantly, the Attorney General’s office did and has notclaimed that LegalZoom was selling personal data.  Instead, we simply agreed to continue our policy of not selling such information.  LegalZoom maintains a robust privacy policy and we have never sold or otherwise provided any customer’s information for the use of a third party without our customers’ knowledge and affirmative consent. 
Finally, you state that “The North Carolina State Bar has also determined that LegalZoom is engaging in the unauthorized practice of law, and has ordered it to cease and desist.”  You reference only a May 5, 2008, non-binding, advisory “letter of caution” from the Authorized Practice Committee of the North Carolina State Bar.  LegalZoom responded to that letter in detail in June 2008, pointing out the letter’s factual and legal inaccuracies and including an opinion letter from a former American Bar Association president confirming that LegalZoom is not engaged in the unauthorized practice of law in North Carolina.  More than two years have passed, and the North Carolina State Bar has neither responded substantively nor taken any enforcement action.  In light of the North Carolina State Bar’s letter confirming receipt of LegalZoom’s response, and LegalZoom’s understanding that the State Bar has removed the letter of caution from its website, LegalZoom can only conclude the State Bar was satisfied with the company’s position.  North Carolina consumers continue to have the option to choose LegalZoom. 
As such, we request that you remove your current blog post or correct all incorrect information.
Ken Friedman | Senior Counsel
Address: 1414 Raleigh Rd Ste 203, Chapel Hill NC 27517
Phone: 919.636.0950 | Toll Free: 800.201.0413 | Fax: 919.493.6355 |