Starting a company means that you’re going to need a lawyer. A lawyer can help you determine the best legal structure for your company, outline your relationship with investors, figure out how to protect your intellectual property, determine agreements between you and your employees, and the best part – take care of all the affiliated paperwork. The problem is that legal services have traditionally been very expensive, especially from the perspective of cash-strapped startups.
However, the legal industry is in the middle of a slow transformation, and from that has emerged a host of new legal startups that specifically aim to provide cost-effective solutions to entrepreneurs and small businesses. If you’re in the market for legal services, check out these platforms.
“We make the law affordable and simple.”
Running on a monthly, subscription-based model, RocketLawyer caters to entrepreneurs, although it also provides personal legal services. Through RocketLawyer’s technology, you can create your own customized legal documents based on templates and seek legal advice from lawyers who will review your documents. For questions about laws in a specific state, you can request help from a lawyer specifically licensed in that state.
One of RocketLawyer’s unique features is a Legal Health Score, which evaluates the legal wellness of a person or business based on predetermined criteria, for example, if the business has necessary written contracts. The site will provide a detailed action plan that the person or business can use to address any legal gaps.
“All law. No firm.”
Priori Legal, founded by two Yale Law School graduates motivated to increase access to legal services, helps business at all stages of their life cycle. Users submit a legal request, and the site will generate a list of lawyers who are potential fits. The lawyers’ expertise and pricing structures (hourly or fixed below-market rates) are presented upfront. Users can further weigh options through free 30-minute consultations with their top picks. After a lawyer is selected, all invoicing and billing is conducted through the platform.
Serious vetting ensures that all lawyers on the site are of high quality. To be listed on the site, lawyers must have five years of legal experience. They also undergo an online application, an in-person interview process, and two professional reference checks.
“You’re in good hands.”
LawGives strives to improve access to justice through technology. Like Priori Legal, it’s a platform for connecting with lawyers for legal services. What’s great is that the site also provides legal guides on relevant topics such as “can a startup sponsor an H1-B visa” and “what tax forms do I need for an independent contractor” so that you can begin educating yourself before seeking legal help. It also includes package deals (e.g., Startup Basic, Website Legal Services, General Counsel Plus) that include all the necessary legal documents in a particular category for a set price.
“Hire a great attorney for your business.”
UpCounsel, like some other platforms, generates a list of lawyers that fit your needs. You can decide the best option based on your expertise and budget. The perks include the fact that you pay your invoice only after you approve of the job. You can also retain an ongoing outside general counsel through the site and build a team of on-demand attorneys that you can consistently rely on.
“The web’s only open collection of legal documents.”
Docracy is an open collection of common legal contracts, such as incorporation documents and non-disclosure agreements. You can modify, negotiate, and sign the agreements through the platform. Since it’s a free service, it’s well suited for those on an extreme budget who want to circumvent going through a lawyer.
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