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The gig economy now officially threatens the legal industry. Online technology companies like Rocket Lawyer and Legal Zoom offer templated legal documents for a fraction of the cost of visiting an actual lawyer. For a modest subscription, you can get a merger agreement, a real estate lease, or even a “last will and testament”. What could go wrong?

Uhm –  a lot.  

Please don’t trust your last will and testament to Mad Libs. Here are our top three reasons why you should choose a real lawyer over Rocket Lawyer:

1. Specific Cases Need Specific Experts. Online technology companies sell legal templates that may be fatally flawed for your needs (and they admit it!) In their Terms of Service (as of December 11, 2020):

  • LegalZoom will not guarantee that its forms “will be suitable…accurate, reliable, complete or timely.”
  • Rocket Lawyer confirms that its forms “should not be relied upon for personal, medical, legal or financial decisions.”

Of course, these companies offer access (for a fee) to licensed attorneys for “legal advice”. In other words, they recommend that their clients liaise with lawyers to finalize transactions. (Sounds like they didn’t use an online tech service to draft their own Terms of Service!)

Lawyers know what a document needs for different courts and jurisdictions, and what language triggers needless hassle, delay, and loss. With the benefit of experience and (very expensive) education, lawyers will custom craft the language to fit your situation.

2. No Class (Action.) Let’s say you use Rocket Lawyer to finalize a contract for a business partner. The partner breaks the contract, you take them to court, and then because of the generic and inaccurate language you neglected to customize in your contract, you lose the case. What can you do from there?

Go home.  

These online tech companies specifically state that their services should not be considered legal advice and any disputes with the company must be settled in arbitration. There’s little hope for a class action lawsuit against them.

3. Get It Right the First Time. Business is complicated. Contracts are meant to manage all potential problems, which is why they are complicated, expensive and time-consuming…and, ultimately, prophylactic. In contrast, short, simple documents are easy to draft and often ineffective.

Unfortunately, managing a dispute after a failure will cost you much more than managing the relationship before it occurs.

Don’t be wasteful with your own time and money! Pay for the comfort of having done it right the first time. The Wallenstein Law Group believes in expert solutions at reasonable rates – and those are the type of solutions that will hold up in court. Contact us today!

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