The practice of law has been changing rapidly in recent years, particularly because of rapid advances in technology. For example, online companies like LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer offer certain legal services for prices that are very low. Their customers can buy an estate plan or get help starting up a business for just hundreds of dollars, rather than the thousands they would typically pay to regular law firms.
A question many people ask is this: can I trust the quality of services provided by these cheap online companies? Many traditional attorneys will tell you to avoid these websites at all costs because they might do something wrong, and also (let’s be honest) because they want you to pay them thousands of dollars to do the same work. I think the websites offering services at extremely reduced prices have their place and can be a good choice for some people in need of legal services. It just depends on you and what you need.
In my view, the services on these websites are appropriate for people with the following characteristics:
- People with simple legal needs: if you need something like a very simple will, deed transfer, or uncontested divorce, then you don’t need to pay a regular attorney thousands of dollars; if you need something more complex or highly customized, then it’s probably better to hire a regular attorney who can give you more personal attention;
- People who are somewhat aware of legal issues and able to review what they receive: I would probably not ever purchase legal services from a cheap online company without reviewing the details of what they provide; you (or someone you trust) should have enough knowledge to review what they do for you and be able to verify whether it’s what you really need;
- People who can’t afford a regular attorney: if you can afford to pay a little more for the personal attention of a qualified attorney in your neighborhood, then it might be worth hiring them rather than an online company; using the cheaper option might work out fine for you, but it might also be worth paying extra to be able to meet or speak with a local attorney in person (if you’d like) and to have them pay closer attention to customizing the service for your needs.
My goal at Piccolo Law Offices is to fill the void between the cheap online options and expensive traditional attorneys. I provide legal services at rates that are much more affordable than traditional law firms while also offering my personal skill and expertise in customizing services for your needs. Certainly, some people will not be able to afford even my low rates, and others might want to pay a traditional firm more because they have a highly complex legal issue and need an attorney with more experience than I currently have. You just have to determine what your needs are and what you can afford.
Have you had any experiences with cheaper online legal services? If so, how have they compared to traditional law firms?