LegalZoom recently took Lawyerist LAB-member Tyler White to task for his post criticizing the LegalZoom’s disclaimer. Tyler pointed out that LegalZoom provides a lot of legal forms of dubious value for very little money, but disclaims all responsibility for the harm they may do. For starters, LegalZoom points out that it is not even a law firm, and that “LegalZoom’s legal document service is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.”
LegalZoom must have a pretty active reputation management division, because none other than Chas Rampenthal, the “General Counsel and VP of Product Development,” responded with a comment.
He started out by defending his company’s honor, pointing out that some people who need legal help cannot afford to pay more than LegalZoom’s prices. And that is probably true. I don’t think LegalZoom is actually taking much business from lawyers, since it is going after a very different customer base. He then got all ad hominem:
While criticizing an A+ rated company by the Better Business Bureau that has been in business for 10 years, Mr. White conveniently omits the fact that he has practiced estate planning law for only 7 months. Check out his Linked In profile, available here.
Tyler capably pointed out the flaw in this reasoning:
I have been in practice for less than a year. This is true, but it is something that I cannot control. I don’t hide that fact from clients, either, and I believe that my rates reflect my level of experience. I will say, though, that I am fully qualified to provide legal advice and estate planning guidance in the State of Minnesota.
And that is more than LegalZoom can say. No matter how many BBB A+’s LegalZoom may have, its own disclaimer disqualifies it from doing what Tyler does.