There are a ton of reasons why your business needs good representation in the way of legal counsel, and there are just as many reasons why that representation needs to be high-quality and reliable.
LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer are just two of the many services you can use to obtain legal counsel for your business through an online service, without the need to go out and sort through multiple different law offices or individual attorneys at law whom you don’t even know are going to work for your company.
They are, however, two of the best online providers out there LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer can both offer you access to qualified attorneys who can handle your legal needs and provide advice, but each specializes in different areas. Here, we’re going to look into everything you’ll need in a business attorney service and show the strengths of each service.
Preparing for Any Eventuality
One of the areas where you can benefit a great deal from legal counsel is in the planning and preparation stages of anything your business does. For example, in the very beginning when you’re writing your company bylaws, it’s a critical stage when you are attempting to think of everything and prevent issues in the future by making provisions for those eventualities preemptively.
Consulting with an experienced attorney while you’re doing that can have immense value to you because they are well aware of a lot of things that should be written into your bylaws that you didn’t think of. No longer will you have to retain the services of a high-priced lawyer to be sure you can get advice when you really need it, during times like that because you can simply sign up with one of these services and get counsel when you need it, from a team of lawyers at your disposal.
Forming Your Business
This being one of the most common areas for which businesses need legal counsel, you’re pretty much going to get excellent help with it from either LegalZoom or Rocket Lawyer.
Especially regarding the business structure to choose, whether it’s a C Corp, S Corp, LLC, Partnership, or Sole Proprietorship, that’s something with which both services are well-equipped to advise and assist you.
The thing to remember when forming your new business, though, is that you do, in fact, need to have someone walk you through the legal aspects because there are many ways in which you could make very regrettable mistakes without counsel. Additionally, there are things like your Employer Identification Number (EIN) that you can set up much more quickly and easily with their help. That’s a service they both provide for any business.
Rental Property Counsel
Rental properties are basically a minefield of potential legal problems. In so many scenarios with a rental property, you absolutely don’t want to get caught without representation, due to the sheer number of reasons that your company can become entangled in some issue or dispute with a tenant or other person.
First of all, an attorney is a great ally when composing your lease agreements—a crucial ally, in fact. There are standard lease agreements, and then there are leases that you draft with an experienced attorney that will include provisions not found in a standard lease, in addition to provisions for your specific needs. It’s well worth it.
Evictions can also be really tricky, and you sometimes need to tread lightly with those, which is where a good attorney can come in very handy. Another aspect where these services can benefit you is getting advice for dealing with tenants, in general. Again, they can quickly get you wrapped up in one of any number of battles, in which an attorney can help you to resolve it much faster and much more amicably than if you were to attempt to handle it on your own.
Namely trademark, copyright, and patents, there are plenty of applications of intellectual property when you need to protect your work for the business. Anything you publish and create for your business needs protection, and this is one of those points where too many business owners fail to take any action at all.
They either assume that anything they create is automatically protected from others stealing it, or they realize it needs protection but don’t consider it important enough to do anything about it. There are all kinds of works where this applies, such as a company logo, company name, website content, blog articles, original designs you’ve created for the business, and a variety of other applications.
Not only can legal counsel ensure that your work is protected from theft, but it’s quite possible that you could end up making some money off of it. When you are the sole owner of some piece of intellectual property, there’s the option of licensing it out for others to use it, and pay you for it. So, this really is an essential area that requires legal counsel to assist you in handling it properly.
As far as trademark, copyright, and patents, LegalZoom is the place you should go for representation because it is very much one of their specialties, and they offer services for everything from registration and monitoring of trademarks, to all the steps for filing, renewal, and use, to the whole process of copywriting and patenting. Though Rocket Lawyer does offer somewhat similar services, it isn’t nearly as comprehensive as LegalZoom.
Contracts and Other Documents
Contracts, first of all, are one point for which you don’t want to cut corners. It’s highly recommended that you draft them with an attorney. If you know what you’re doing, or it’s an extremely simple contract, then you can probably just write it up on your own or use a standard template without creating a new custom contract.
For important deals or complicated agreements, though, you’ll get a much safer contract with the help of your attorney. As this is such a common practice for business counsel, you’ll be in pretty good hands with LegalZoom, as well as Rocket Lawyer.
The problem with drafting your contracts on your own is the same as writing your company bylaws on your own. There may be a lot of pertinent points that you haven’t thought of, that your attorney will think of and protect you from someone taking advantage of the business.
There are all kinds of compliance issues that you have to be concerned with, and all of them are important. Like an independent contractor who is framing a house, it all has to be built according to building code—every bit of it—or there will be serious repercussions, you have to run your business according to every code and regulation.
Many of those laws and regulations you may not even be aware of, which is exactly why you need an attorney who does know the code, making sure you don’t violate any of them and put your business at risk. General corporate compliance, employment, commerce, business tax, and any other areas all have laws with which your company has to comply.
Taxes, Licenses, & Permits
Your relationship with the IRS is obviously paramount. It’s tough to navigate that relationship, though, without legal counsel, and everything you file with the IRS needs to be right, so you really want to have that counsel nearby.
Tax preparation alone is completely worth hiring an attorney to make sure you don’t break any tax laws because the IRS don’t play. State licensing and permits are tricky, too. In fact, permits and other state laws, no matter what state you’re in, are no picnic in general, as the law can vary wildly from state to state.
The beauty of using a service like LegalZoom or Rocket Lawyer for this, of course, is that you don’t have to know any of it, yourself. The legal service finds out everything your business needs to operate in that state, lets you know what all those laws are, and you go out and secure those licenses and permits.
What Are the Main Differences Between LegalZoom & Rocket Lawyer?
Rocket Lawyer is basically the Squarespace of legal services. Though they do offer a limited range of the services most businesses would require, their focus is primarily to get you started quickly and as simply as possible.
LegalZoom is full-service, and it feels like a classic law firm or office that provides a comprehensive list of services, pretty much everything you can think of to support any business’ legal needs.
One of the most outstanding features of LegalZoom is the way in which they tend to their clients with a 360-degree approach. That is, they give clients the full picture of legal services and customer support available, and let them select all the services they will need to support their company.
Rocket Lawyer, to their credit, aims to make it as simple and quick as possible to obtain the services they need, offering them basic categories of services to choose from so that they can select what they need right away and get started. If you’re short on time and just need a straightforward, simple legal service, then Rocket Lawyer is probably the way to go.
To Sum Up
Regardless of the negative points we’ve mentioned about Rocket Lawyer, their service is still an excellent resource for solving many legal issues for your business. They’re more than basic because their attorneys are qualified to give legal advice regarding just about anything, and any service you would expect from a normal law office is available.
LegalZoom is an unexpectedly comprehensive pool of professionals and base of knowledge that far surpasses anything you would expect from an online legal provider. On the LegalZoom website, you’ll find services for just about anything that a traditional law office would provide, and then some. They easily come out on top over Rocket Lawyer in a number of areas, and no matter what reason you have for seeking legal counsel, you’ll find the solution with LegalZoom.
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.