Consumer Reports Reviews Self-Help Legal Sites
Consumer Reports, that trusty publication that does in-depth research on products that we consumers know little about, has targeted three of the most popular self-help legal websites in the attached report. The web sites reviewed are Legal Zoom; Nolo; and Rocket Lawyer.
The most popular of the three sites is Legal Zoom, founded by Los Angeles lawyer Robert Shapiro, and hawked by the likes of Rush Limbaugh.
The CP review of the sites is luke warm, as you may expect. The general conclusion is that, if you have a very simple matter, these sites are "better than nothing." If you have any complexity to your legal matter, however, you will be better off hiring a lawyer.
As any lawyer knows, the devil is in the details in any legal situation. One-form-fits-all simply does not work in the law. Sure, lawyers are trained to use checklists and forms, but every document drafted must be customized to some extent to ensure that the client's objective is completed within the four corners of a document.
These days, with on-line review services and easily accessible electronic profiles, you can do a lot of preliminary groundwork and research at your computer. This is true of your specific legal issue, as well as for the lawyers who are in the best position to handle your matter.
So take a look at the linked report before paying fees to one of these sites. And be careful out there...
Post Note 11/24/2012: Here is a great post in the Simple Justice blog about the litigation erupting between legalzoom and rocketlawyer.