Online Legal Services vs. The Traditional Attorney
As most successful business minds know, being able to keep overhead low means that profit margins are higher. One of the increasing popular methods of cutting costs is instead of hiring an attorney to handle your business' legal needs businesses are going to an online legal services website for their legal needs. But these services can often times fall short of accomplishing what you want.
Here is a classic example: An individual wants to incorporate his business so he logs onto one of the many online legal services sites and gives them all of the information and pays them their onetime fee. That site then files articles of incorporation for that person with the state. That person now believes he is protected from liability because he is a corporation. In reality, all that site did was file a document with the state and the state said, “sure we will recognize that corporation.” The site did nothing more than that to create a corporation. The site fails to execute any of the internal documents and agreements required to create a corporation, fails to call meetings and take minutes of those meetings, and fails to issue stock. Basically all that site did was reserve this person a name with the state.
Even further compounding of the problem, these sites are not legally able to practice law. Meaning they cannot do anything more than they are asked to do. They cannot make recommendations or advise of potential issues. That site cannot tell you how to protect your ideas and information or how ensure that your employees or partners will not compete with you while still working for or with you. That site cannot help answer your specific legal questions and even if it can you are only going to get generic answer.
Attorneys have years of education and experience on their side. They have the ability to know the pitfalls and requirements that are specific for your given situation. They have the ability to see potential issues and guide you on a path to avoid those issues. So while hiring a traditional attorney might cost a little more upfront the long term savings can be invaluable.
Also, something many people forget: you can shop around for an attorney. Many firms and attorneys have flat rate services or can work with clients on plans that make their services affordable. While you might not be in a position to hire the city’s biggest firm, you can probably get better personal service and just as good of a product from a solo-practitioner or boutique firm at a much lower price.