Best Online Legal Services — Top Picks for Business in 2020

Want quick access to thousands of legal documents, ready to fill in and print? Do you need a legal consultation but can’t afford the high fees imposed by firms? Or do you just want some help filling out your documents and answering some burning legal questions? An online legal service might be your answer.

However, choosing the best online legal service can be daunting if you don’t know what to look for. That’s why we created this review of the top services in this sphere.

In this review, we will cover:

  • •  7 of the best online legal services in 2020
  • •  Our methodology
  • •  How they work/what types are there
  • •  The benefits and risks of using an online legal company
  • •  FAQs

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Best Legal Service Sites — Reviews

1. LegalNature

Excellent support and customer feedback

Flexible and transparent pricing

7-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee

Best User Experience For An Online Legal Solutions Platform

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If you’re looking for a straightforward, easy-to-use, and secure platform to create and store all your legal forms for individual, business, or property owner needs, then LegalNature fits the bill. All customers get full access to the wide variety of document drafting tools it provides with a free trial and money-back guarantee should you not be satisfied.

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Legal Services Offered

Credibility & Reputation

Ease of Use & Customer Care

Pricing & Plans

2. LawDepot

Allows you to sign up quickly and draft your first document

A single, all-inclusive plan

7-day free trial with full access

Best For Cheap Access To Legal Documents

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LawDepot is your one-stop shop for any type of legal document, whether it’s personal or professional. If you’re in a rush, you can sign up and start drafting a document in no time with the free trial. No matter what your subscription, you get full access to all document types with unlimited downloading and printing.

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Legal Services Offered

Credibility & Reputation

Ease of Use & Customer Care

Pricing & Plans

3. LegalZoom

Phone support 6 days a week

60-day satisfaction guarantee

Access to real lawyers from all 50 states

Best For Legal Forms As Well As Consultation In One Platform

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As one of the pioneers in the field, LegalZoom can help you take care of most of your everyday legal needs, including consultations with a real, vetted attorney from your state. If you only occasionally need a specific document, they are a great option that doesn’t tie you down with a subscription.

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Legal Services Offered

Credibility

Ease of Use & Customer Care

Pricing & Plans

4. UpCounsel

Free legal forms and management tools

Affordable access to professional online legal services and counsel

Connects you with a huge pool of lawyers/attorneys

Best For A One-On-One Consultation With A Real Lawyer/Attorney

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UpCounsel serves as a middleman to connect those in need of legal help with top-tier, vetted legal representatives. You can save up to 60% in overhead legal costs. Attorneys submit proposals to your jobs, putting you in charge of choosing the best fit with UpCounsel mediating payments and disputes so everything goes smoothly.

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Legal Services Offered

Credibility

Ease of Use & Customer Care

Pricing & Plans

5. JustAnswer

Very quick response times for most questions

Ask any question and get professional help

Simple and easy to use

Best For Quick Answers To Less Complicated Legal Matters

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Ever wish that you could just ask a question and get an answer from a vetted professional instantly? This is exactly the experience JustAnswer provides. This platform supports a network of verified experts ready to answer questions from curious users, even from the legal field. Ask as many questions as you want for a low monthly fee and get in touch with relevant specialists.

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Legal Services Offered

Credibility

Ease of Use & Customer Care

Pricing & Plans

6. USLegalForms

Completion services by professional lawyers

85,000+ state-specific legal documents available

Affordable if you subscribe yearly

Best Service To Create Legal Documents Online + Completion Services

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With over 20 years of experience and 85,000 legal documents to choose from, USLegal is a trusted and comprehensive platform for all your legal form needs. With completion services by professional lawyers, you can rest assured that your documents comply with the proper standards.

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Legal Services Offered

Credibility

Ease of Use & Customer Care

Pricing & Plans

7. Direct Incorporation

Executive Club for ongoing business support

Extra services for starting a business

Expertise in business registration

Best Online Legal Service For Business Formation

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Direct Incorporation is focused on helping those who want to launch a business with a comprehensive service. Whether it’s obtaining FID or EIN numbers, adhering to business compliance procedures, or whatever other tools you need to succeed - they can assist you. Higher tier packages even go as far as to provide business assistance after business formation, such as tax advice.

Read full review

Legal Services Offered

Credibility

Ease of Use & Customer Care

Pricing & Plans

How we created this list - Our Methodology

Legal platforms can provide both a tech-based product and actual legal services. As such, there are many factors that come into play when choosing the best provider. Here are the criteria we used to identify the best online legal services for individuals, business formation, and any other legal situations you need assistance with.

  • Available Services: Legal services span across every aspect of our lives, from business to personal. Signing a lease, incorporating a business, writing a will, dealing with your divorce online, or protecting your intellectual property – all have to face the legal system at some point. The service can be as simple as providing you with a document template or as complex as providing one-on-one legal consultation. With that in mind, we looked at the variety and scope of the services on offer.
  • Ease of Use:
    • Sign-up Process: As legal matters can be daunting and time-consuming to deal with, you don’t need more delays or obstacles. We look at how quick and easy the signup process is and how soon you can expect results.
    • Customer Care: To avoid delays, customer care should be accessible via as many channels as possible. Some may prefer the anonymity of live chat – especially when dealing with highly personal matters, while others want the personal touch of phone support.
    • Accessibility: Most people today are busy and work on-the-go. Especially when it comes to document storage and management platforms, a good user experience is vital, since you’d want to be able to access your data from anywhere.
  • Online Reputation: Because legal matters can be complex and unique, it’s not enough to look at a single review or read the company’s own branding to make up your mind whether or not they are right for you. We looked at ratings from consumer protection sites as well as past user reviews to get a sense of user satisfaction and how reliable the service is.
  • Pricing: One of the main benefits of professional online legal services is its lower cost and accessibility. We assessed the cost itself as well as any trials and satisfaction guarantees to determine what your expenses and risks will be.

At a Glance

  • Easy to use
  • Excellent support and customer feedback
  • Flexible and transparent pricing
  • 7-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee
  • No consultation or advanced legal services
  • Free trial requires a credit card

LegalNature makes you feel welcome and reassured as soon as you visit the website with an interface that’s modern and easy to navigate. It was established in 2011 to help individuals, businesses, and landlords with basic legal services as well as a secure and organized platform to draft and store legal documents.

Creating and incorporating an LLC, C-Corp, S-Corp, or nonprofit organization all start at $40 with the final price depending on your exact needs. This is a separate service from their legal document platform subscriptions that follow a pretty straightforward pricing structure:

  • Standard Plan: $84 per year / $38.95 per month
    • A single version per document type
  • Professional Plan: $499 per year / $58.95 per month
    • Unlimited versions per document type

You have access to all document types with any plan and can also purchase single documents. Their prices range from $34.95 to $78.95. Overall, LegalNature’s pricing is flexible, transparent, and relatively affordable.

Unfortunately, LegalNature’s phone support is limited to between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday. It takes up to 1 business day to get a response to emails. However, their customer care is really attentive, even though it might not be 24/7. With both a 7-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee, it’s one of the best free online legal services options that you can try for a limited time.

At a Glance

  • Pricing includes business incorporation
  • Allows you to sign up quickly and draft your first document
  • A single, all-inclusive plan
  • 7-day free trial with full access
  • No access to consultation/lawyers
  • Automatically charges you at end of the free trial

LawDepot was founded in 2002, making it one of the most established online law services that are still around. With over 10 million users that have generated 10 million legal documents, saving $2 billion in the process, LawDepot has quite the track record. As such, they offer a broad umbrella of legal services, with employment documents (NDAs, contracts, offer letters) on top of the usual categories, like personal, business, and real estate documents.

You just need to provide an email and password to create an account, and you can immediately start drafting legal forms. However, you will need to select a subscription license before downloading or printing the final product.

LawDepot offers the flexibility to pay for your legal documents on a monthly, yearly, or per-document basis:

  • Single document: $7.50-$68 depending on the type of document
  • One Year Pro: Create and print as many documents as you want for the duration.
    • Monthly: $33 per month
    • Yearly: $95.88 per year ($7.99 per month)
  • Free trial: Full access for 7 days and then renews at $33 per month.

The yearly plan is discounted significantly and costs the same amount as the single document option would for only three months. You also need to be careful as you’ll automatically be charged at the end of the free trial (credit card required).

LawDepot actually provides support across multiple channels: live chat, email, and phone support. Along with LegalNature, it’s one of the best subscription-based legal services for legal forms.

At a Glance

  • Access to real lawyers from all 50 states
  • Phone support 6 days a week
  • 60-day satisfaction guarantee
  • Can be relatively expensive
  • No free trial

Launched online in 2001, LegalZoom is one of the early pioneers in this field. On top of helping customers with procuring legal forms, they also provide access to vetted lawyers in all 50 states. LegalZoom covers the field of creative licensing and copyrights on top of all the standard legal fields. They can even help with filing taxes, which is relatively uncommon.

However, LegalZoom doesn’t serve as a document storage platform for your legal documents and there is no user client portal. While legal services are subscription-based, documents are procured on a once-off basis. Usually, you can either pay the base amount (+state fees) or pay more for express processing. For example, registering an LLC costs between $79 and $349. Other packages, like annual reports or wills, have their own prices.

LegalZoom can be much pricier on a per-document basis but may be preferable if you don’t want to subscribe. Legal services start at $9.99 for individuals and $31.45 for businesses per month for unlimited 30-minute sessions. So for both legal aid and forms, LegalZoom is one of the best online legal service options.

LegalZoom offers a 60-day 100% satisfaction guarantee during which you can request a refund or exchange the document/service for another.

You can contact customer support by phone between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. PT Monday to Friday and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT on weekends. There is also email support.

At a Glance

  • Connects you with a huge pool of lawyers/attorneys
  • Free legal forms and management tools
  • Affordable access to professional online legal services and counsel
  • Support only via email
  • Free documents are limited in scope

UpCounsel is based in San Francisco and has been in business since 2012. In 2020, it was purchased by Enduring Ventures, a company owned by a frequent UpCounsel customer, and rebuilt from the ground up.

In a way, UpCounsel is a freelancer site targeted specifically towards the law industry. Customers can post jobs and lawyers can submit proposals with their fees. All attorneys are vetted beforehand and customers can often expect a free initial consultation to see if it’s a good match.

The main benefits of UpCounsel are being able to access a wider pool of legal talent as well as to save legal costs which can be extremely high when approaching a firm directly. If you’re not happy with the work provided, UpCounsel will mediate and either connect you to a new attorney for free or refund your costs. If you want a wide pool of legal talent to choose from, then UpCounsel is one of the best online legal help platforms.

There are both hourly and fixed fee jobs/packages. So, the cost will depend on the lawyer you partner with. The average costs look something like this:

  • Commercial contracts: $125-$250/hr
  • Employment & HR: $175-$275/hr
  • General Counsel: $250-$350/hr
  • Utility Patents: $1,000-$5,000
  • Visas: $2,000-$4,000
  • Trademarks: $600-$800

You can immediately submit a job as part of the signup process and it only takes a couple of minutes.

However, it’s also a platform service with free collaboration tools, such as workflow management, premade legal documents, document storage & management, as well as e-signatures. Not to mention 24/7 customer support via email.

At a Glance

  • Simple and easy to use
  • Very quick response times for most questions
  • Ask any question and get professional help
  • The trial period is still paid
  • Dated interface

JustAnswer isn’t purely an online legal service, but a platform where someone from any walk of life can connect with verified experts, such as medical doctors, lawyers/attorneys, veterinarians, and more, to answer their burning questions. Experts are vetted through an 8-step process to make sure that their answers are up to professional standards.

JustAnswer offers a 7-day trial during which you can ask as many questions as you want for a small $5 fee and get answers. After that, you have to subscribe on a monthly basis at $30 a month. As an expert has to be online and active to answer your question, getting an answer can take anywhere from a few minutes to 24 hours. For an unlimited number of questions, it might be one of the best online legal service options.

The signup is very quick as you only need to provide a username, email, and password. The dashboard is also simple and easy to use, although the visuals are a bit outdated.

The process is also more involved than just submitting a question and getting a single answer. You can share photos, documents, and exchange numbers. Although JustAnswer claims to offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee, they don’t back this up in any way and it’s up to your specific case whether you may actually get a refund.

At a Glance

  • Affordable if you subscribe yearly
  • Completion services by professional lawyers
  • 85,000+ state-specific legal documents available
  • No free trial/money-back guarantee
  • Dated interface
  • Pricey on a month-to-month basis

USLegal has been helping clients with their legal document needs since 1997, making it the legal platform with the most experience behind it on this list. It’s no surprise that USLegal can help take care of almost all your legal needs with over 85,000 types of documents available. Categorized under “Personal” and “Business” documents, they can help draft anything from adoption to non-disclosure agreements.

There are two plans to choose from if you want to make use of their services:

  • Basic: $96 billed yearly / $38 monthly
    •  Unlimited access to all legal forms
  • Premium: $180 billed yearly / $56 monthly
    • Free subscription to pdfFiller and signNow
    • Completion services for certain document types
    • 50% off business/legal entity formation services

If you use a lot of digital documents in your personal or professional capacity, the software subscriptions might come in handy. However, for some, they will just inflate the price unnecessarily. That said, having professional lawyers available to complete your documents is a very valuable feature considering the typically high hourly rates.

As you can see, business registration is not included with the base subscription. You can also purchase documents separately, with each document type having a unique cost. If you’re able to commit yearly, USLegal’s pricing is on par. If you choose to pay monthly, however, it’s pretty expensive.

USLegal’s customer support is available via phone, online form, and tickets. Although it doesn’t commit to any specific contact hours, interactions with its customer support are generally satisfying.

At a Glance

  • Expertise in business registration
  • Executive Club for ongoing business support
  • Extra services for starting a business
  • Limited and inconsistent customer support
  • No other legal forms/services
  • Relatively expensive

Direct Incorporation is focused on helping individuals register S-Corp, C-Corp, and LLC entities and has been doing so since 2003. Although they don’t provide any other legal services, this targeted expertise means they can go the extra mile and it may be more reassuring if this is the only service you want. With logo services, trademark protection, and more – it’s a one-stop service for starting a business.

Because it’s a more hands-on service, their fees are slightly higher at $147 (+state fees) for the Standard Package and $297 (+state fees) for the Premier Package. The main difference is that, with the latter, Direct Incorporation will also assist you with completing and obtaining other business-related documents, such as stock transfer letters, corporate bylaws, and operating agreements. As such, they are one of the best options for online legal advice for companies.

There is also an Elite package ($429 + state fees) that includes stock logos, website hosting, and a business compliance service for 1 month. The Venture Package comes with all that plus additional trademark protection services for 3 months.

The value of these services will depend on your individual needs. However, Direct Incorporation is slightly pricier than other options which might make it a liability if you don’t need any extras.

The time it takes to officially incorporate varies from state to state (3-20 business days on average). However, completing and submitting your form should take no more than 10 minutes.

Phone support is available from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. (EST) Mon-Fri. Although we had a positive experience with its customer support, other customer feedback is occasionally negative.

How Do Online Legal Services Work?

Depending on what type of legal service platform you engage, they can provide some, or all, of the following features:

  • In-house legal representatives, such as attorneys or lawyers appointed by the American Bar Association
  • Completion services from professional lawyers
  • A network of legal partners that can consist of firms as well as independently operating lawyers
  • A document filing system with enhanced security and file management features for personal or business use
  • Thousands of templates for legal documents for anything from adoption and last wills & testaments to business formation and intellectual property protection
  • Customer support to mediate any disputes between clients and lawyers or to assist with technical issues

Types of Professional Online Legal Services

Legal Help / Consultation

These types of legal platforms either employ their own accredited lawyers or act as a middleman between freelance lawyers and clients. With the former, you can provide details on your case and they will assign a legal representative to you. Except for being online, it will be close to a traditional professional relationship with a law firm. The best legal service sites will verify and check legal representatives’ credentials to make sure they are legitimate.

In the latter case, the platform will act as a middleman between freelance lawyers and clients. Clients post their cases just like you would place jobs on a freelance site. Lawyers can then review them and submit applications. You, as the client, are then able to pick the representative you think is best for you. This service can still work out much cheaper than a traditional law firm because freelance attorneys directly pocket your fees and there are fewer overhead costs involved.

Document Filing

Often, businesses spend a lot of time drafting the same legal documents over and over again. However, making sure everything is correct every time is always a challenge. These types of services provide you with legally valid templates of thousands of different types of law documents, from wills and business registration to tax and trademark applications. That’s why a number of document filing platforms have made it into our top online legal services reviews.

You simply have to complete the documents as requested and then you can get a copy to download and print. Some platforms offer professional completion services from a lawyer to make sure it’s up to scratch. Furthermore, some are a complete document filing solution that acts as secure online storage and offers compliance frameworks for all your legal forms.

Referral Services

A lawyer referral service works similarly to legal aid or consultation platforms. However, they simply cross-reference your legal needs with a database of legal representatives or firms. If they find a match, they will put you in touch and earn a small commission from your legal fees.

How to Choose an Online Legal Company - The Ultimate Guide

Legal Services Offered

First of all, you should make sure that the online legal solutions offered are actually what you need. Some only do legal forms, some provide completion services, some only offer legal consultation, and some do a mix of all three. Not all legal form platforms provide document filing services.

Hand-in-hand with this comes establishing whether the service counts as actual legal advice/representation or not. Once you establish that, you can also look at whether they specialize in a particular field of law to make the best choice for your situation.

Credibility

This is slightly less obvious but can be established with a bit of research. Firstly, you should check whether they are accredited or acknowledged by any consumer protection website, such as BBB and Trustpilot. Secondly, check reviews from past users, especially where it applies to charge you for services and refunds.

You should also see if the company employs any professional lawyers or attorneys. For example, some of the top online legal companies are founded by a combination of real lawyers and entrepreneurs. For freelance legal consultation, try to see what concrete steps they take to verify the credentials of the applicants.

Years in Business

This might not be foolproof criteria but a long history or track record can tell you a lot about a company. Most fly-by-night legal operations with dubious legitimacy burn out quickly as a result of legal action taken against them. Plus, the field of law is one where experience is of the utmost importance and will contribute to the service’s overall expertise. Many of the best-rated online legal services on this list have been in business for almost 20 years.

Cost

Probably one of the main reasons you are approaching an online legal company is to avoid huge legal bills. With the overhead that a physical legal firm charges, even drafting everyday documents can cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. An affordable online legal service can dodge many of these costs or put you in contact with a freelance legal representative.

Benefits of Online Legal Services

The main advantage of approaching an online legal service is that they can often offer the exact same services as a firm at a much lower cost. Legal fees accumulate up to hundreds of thousands of dollars for relatively mundane tasks because conventional firms have such high overhead charges.

For example, some of the best virtual legal services reviewed here can help you draft professional and legally valid documents for way under $100.

You can also find professional lawyers and representatives online that will directly handle your case. If your case is not high profile or complex, you might just be passed to an apprentice when using a firm. You also get to choose from a much larger talent pool with expertise in certain fields/state laws.

The main disadvantage of using an online legal platform is that it is somewhat easier to be conned online than in real life. Not using a legit service can be a costly mistake. That’s why it’s important to do your research and only engage the best online legal services in 2020.

Best Online Legal Service Providers At A Glance

  • LegalNature: Best user experience for an online legal solutions platform
  • LawDepot: Best for cheap access to legal documents
  • LegalZoom: Best for legal forms as well as consultation in one platform
  • UpCounsel: Best for a one-on-one consultation with a real lawyer/attorney
  • JustAnswer: Best for quick answers to less complicated legal matters
  • USLegalForms.com: Best service to create legal documents online + completion services
  • Direct Incorporation: Best online legal service for business formation

Key Takeouts

Although all of us need legal assistance at some point in our lives, it’s hard to know where to go once you’re in that situation. Online legal platforms exist to provide access to legal resources at a much lower cost and from the comfort of your home.

However, when dealing with these matters, only the best online legal service will do. Online platforms can also provide you with a much wider network of legal representatives as well as put you in charge of who will take on your case.

Because there are a number of different types of legal services, you can find one that caters to your exact needs and budget. Whether you need quick access to a legal document, legal filing for your personal or business use, or actual one-on-one legal consultation, you’ll find an online legal service for you.

FAQs

What is the best online legal service?

All online legal services do not offer the same things, and choosing which one of them is the best online legal service provider often comes down to your individual requirements. Above, we’ve rounded up the best legal services according to different criteria that should help you make your decision.

Which online legal service has the best templates?

We’ve reviewed a number of legal form platforms. Once again, the best online legal document service comes down to your requirements. However, some of the top services, like LegalNature and USLegalForms have tens of thousands of templates as well as document filing tools.

Can I talk to a lawyer online for free?

Unfortunately, there are very few free online legal services. Even freelance lawyers’ time is extremely valuable and may cost $100 per hour or more. However, via sites like UpCounsel, you may get a free consultation as part of your application. And, you can get quick answers or short consultations very cheaply through sites like JustAnswer and LegalZoom.

What is the best prepaid legal service?

There are a number of different types of prepaid legal services. LegalZoom is one of the best for both prepaid documents and consultations. Most legal form sites are actually prepaid. To choose the best online legal service to assist you, check out our criteria and reviews above.