Not everyone keeps a lawyer on retainer, mostly because of the astronomical expense. And even if a brand is lucky enough to be able to afford this, they might get an unpleasant surprise when a legal need arises and the lawyer they’ve retained doesn’t specialize in the necessary area of law.
That’s why online legal services are so helpful. With just a few clicks, you can access legal documents, find a nearby attorney, and seek legal counsel to assist with any issue.
The 10 Best Online Legal Services of 2022
- Rocket Lawyer — Best for fast legal help
- LegalShield — Best full-coverage legal plans
- Incfile — Best for setting up your startup
- Lawyer.com — Best for hiring local and regional lawyers
- LegalZoom — Best for pain-free IP protection
- LegalNature — Best for DIY legal documents
- Nolo — Best for doing it all yourself
- Avvo — Best online legal Q&As
- UpCounsel — Best for outsourcing your legal department
- LegalMatch — Best for finding an attorney near you
Below, I’ll highlight the top features, benefits, use cases, and considerations of each online legal service to help you make the right decision for your needs.
Let’s take a look.
Best Online Legal Services Reviews
Find out everything you need to know about each of the legal services that made my top list.
Rocket Lawyer – Best for Fast Legal Help
- Get legal advice within a business day
- Monthly & single doc prices
- Fast access to documents
- Exceptional mobile app
Rocket Lawyer offers an online legal service that helps people create legal documents and get legal advice as fast as possible.
As their name suggests, they give you a variety of ways to quickly access attorneys and their advice including phone, email, or chat. RocketLawyer will connect you with attorneys that cover a wide range of topics including family law, wills, business contracts and documents, criminal law, personal injury, employment law, and real estate.
They also have an excellent legal advice portal where you can type in your legal question and get answers back within a business day.
If you need even more help, they can help connect you with an actual lawyer to talk to about your matters. Their helpful lawyer directory allows you to choose the legal topic you want a pro to consult with, along with your state so they can connect you with someone knowledgeable about local laws. It takes just a few minutes to do.
Rocket Lawyer also has an extensive resource library for its customers that helps individuals and business owners create legal documents for a wide range of use cases.
Here are a few documents they help you create and process:
- Non-Disclosure Agreement
- LLC Operating Agreement
- Independent Contractor Agreement
- Business Contract
- Lease Agreement
- Eviction Notice
- Intent to Purchase Real Estate
- Quitclaim Deed
Rocket Lawyer can also help with more personal matters such as estate planning and healthcare directives. If you really want to dig into Rocket Lawyer and what it has to offer, I did a deeper dive into Rocket Lawyer in my recent review of the service.
Rocket Lawyer offers two ways to pay: You can pay a monthly membership fee of $39.99 per month to access free services and discounted documents. Alternatively, you can opt to pay per use based on only what you need.
When you go the a la carte route, Rocket Lawyer charges $39.99 per document. If you know you’re going to need multiple documents at once or need legal documents created on an ongoing basis then the monthly membership is definitely worth it.
Rocket Lawyer also has a great mobile app. This gives you fast access to your documents from anywhere. You can even sign agreements directly in the app.
LegalShield – Best Full-Coverage Legal Plans
- Responses in 4 hours or less
- Unlimited advice included
- Starts at $29.95 per month
- Save 16% with annual plan
LegalShield helps people defend themselves by always having a lawyer ready.
That’s the thing, you don’t necessarily know when you are going to need the help of a lawyer. It never comes at a good time, but with LegalShield, you can start resolving problems immediately without breaking the bank.
Individuals, families, businesses–LegalShield has a range of affordable plans that provide people with the help they need, when they need it.
Plans for individuals start at $29.99 per month, or $24.99 per month with an annual subscription. These plans always include family members, and cover scenarios such as IRS audits, estate planning and more.
On their small business legal service plans, LegalShield connects you with a trusted law firm in your state or in any state where you do business and need consultation. You can use them for unlimited advice and counsel on matters such as:
- Joint ventures
- Customer complaints
- Vendor issues
- Recovery services
The plans also cover 30-minute consultations on out-of-state legal matters and more specific areas of law—like tax, IP, immigration, and antitrust. Additional services needed in these areas are billed at a member discount of between 10% and 25%.
You also get a flat 25% discount on legal services not covered in your contract with your designated law firm.
All of this is included in the SMB Legal Essentials plan for $49 per month, plus:
- 10 letters or phone calls per year by your counsel on your behalf
- Attorney review of up to 10 documents per year
- 5 collection letters per month
Attorneys are guaranteed to return calls in four hours or less, documents get reviewed in no more than three business days, and you’ll be connected to someone within 15 minutes in cases of a legal emergency.
Step up to the two higher tiers—SMB Legal Plus for $99 per month or SMB Legal Pro for $169 per month—for more letters, phone calls, document reviews, and collection letters, plus interstate services, IRS audit services, and converting some discounted services to flat fees.
Connect with LegalShield to learn more by using its dedicated line at 833-936-0586, or head to their website to sign up for affordable legal coverage today.
Incfile – Best for Setting Up Your Startup
- Form an LLC, S-Corp, C-Corp, or nonprofit
- Starts at $0
- Next-day processing
- Customized by state
Incfile offers an online legal service that specializes in business formation. If you have ever tried to set up a business yourself, you know how helpful it is to have someone who understands the law on your side.
Simply choose your entity type (LLC, S-Corp, C-Corp, or Nonprofit) and select your state of formation to proceed. Not sure which entity type is best for you? Incfile will help you choose the best entity type based on your needs.
Beyond choosing your entity type, there are a lot of other steps to starting a business. Incfile helps you get the legal stuff locked down the right way, and helps you grow your business on a firm foundation.
Incfile has three different packages. The rates for each vary by state.
All plans include:
- Company name availability verification
- Preparation and filing
- Registered agent service (free for one year)
- Lifetime company alerts
- Online status tracking
- Free business tax consultation
- Lifetime support
- Online access to your incorporation documents
- Next-day business processing
The basic plan is $0. The only cost is your state’s registration fee.
However, you’ll have to pay extra for things like an EIN/Tax ID, IRS Form 2553, operating agreements, and the like. Incfile also provides long-term assistance with compliance and trademark registration.
I recommend going with at least the Gold package. It comes with all those extras along with unlimited phone and email support, express shipping, expedited filing, and FedEx Delivery.
To find the exact cost for your startup, just select an entity type and choose your state. You can get a quote from Incfile in seconds.
Lawyer.com – Best for Hiring Local and Regional Lawyers
- 1 million+ lawyers listed
- Great for personal & business consultations
- Get matched or browse nearby counsel
- Plans starting at $14.99
Whether you’re looking for quick legal assistance from an attorney in your state or for new counsel to replace your current lawyer, Lawyer.com’s database gives you plenty of lawyers near you to choose from.
And by plenty, I mean well over 1 million lawyers nationwide. Most states in the U.S. have tens of thousands of attorneys listed on Lawyer.com. Their practice areas span the entire legal spectrum.
To get started just submit some basic information and legal issue details, and Lawyer.com will match you with a qualified attorney in your region. Unlike some other lawyer matching sites, you can even browse the database freely by city/state and area of practice.
This allows you to do your homework on potential counsel to see if they’re a good fit before committing to a consultation.
Lawyer.com puts an emphasis on personal and family legal issues, but they also accommodate business needs. This makes Lawyer.com appealing to entrepreneurs who may want both personal and business counsel.
You can get a legal protection plan from Lawyer.com starting at $14.99 per month. Generally, these plans focus on personal or family counsel, but plan members can also use any plan for business representation.
The plans give you get unlimited free consultations, 25% discounts on qualified legal fees, and no cancellation fees. Business legal areas that plan members can utilize include contracts, incorporation, partnerships, and intellectual property. That’s in addition to personal coverage in areas like accident and injury, family law, and estate planning.
Personal protection plans run $14.99 for one month, $29.99 for three months, or $119.99 for the year. Family plans include services for you, your spouse, and your children, starting at $19.99 per month or $44.99 for a three-month plan and $179.99 for a full year.
Lawyer.com’s plans may not be robust enough for some businesses and professionals, but their vast database of attorneys can be a huge help to anyone. Find a lawyer based on a convenient location or pick one most suited to your preferences after doing your own due diligence and research.
LegalZoom – Best for Pain-Free IP Protection
- Comprehensive IP services
- Provisional patent applications
- Legal documents
- Wills & trusts
LegalZoom is the most diverse online legal service on the market today. This website can accommodate your personal, professional, and business needs.
Where LegalZoom really shines is in its intellectual property (IP) services. Do you need a copyright or a trademark for your brand? A utility or a design patent?
LegalZoom walks you through all the crucial paperwork needed to protect your IP.
They’re also one of the most comprehensive services for prior art, patent, trademark, and copyright searching. You can also get help filing utility, design patents, and provisional patent applications in just three steps.
LegalZoom’s online legal services can be segmented into four main categories.
- Business formation
- Corporate changes and filings
- Business compliance
- Business names
- Trademark, patent, and copyright
- Real estate
- Taxes, licensing, and permits
- Legal forms and agreements
- Trademark search
- Trademark registration
- Copyright registration
- Design patent
- Utility patent
- Provisional patent application
Wills, Trust, and Family
- Estate planning
- Marriage and divorce
- Residential lease
- Property lease
- Financial power of attorney
- Business consultation
- Personal consultation
- Contracts and agreements
- Website terms and conditions
LegalZoom offers six-month and annual plans for businesses and individuals. Individual plans start at $9.99 per month with an annual contract, and business plans start at $31.25 per month with a one-year commitment.
LegalZoom is a top choice to consider for one-time services, as well as ongoing legal needs.
LegalNature – Best for DIY Legal Documents
- Personal & business documents
- Wide range of legal forms
- Step-by-step instructions
- Create, download, & print
LegalNature gives you all you need for legal filings and templates. It’s fast, reliable, and easy for anyone to use.
For the business owner that needs a critical document that is done right, done fast, and doesn’t break the bank, LegalNature is a great option.
When it comes to non-disclosure agreements, termination forms, commercial lease agreements, and other important business documents, LegalNature helps you create without worry.
Here’s a quick overview of some of LegalNature’s top categories:
- Business formation
- Commercial property
- Estate planning
- Human resources
- Marriage and divorce
- Landlord and tenant
- Personal affairs
Choose the legal document you’d like to create and LegalNature walks you step-by-step through the entire drafting process. When you’re done, you can easily download and store the completed documents.
LegalNature recently changed its payment options, starting with LegalNature+, which is available as an annual subscription for $119 per year or as a month-to-month subscription for $39 per month.
With LegalNature+, you can create, edit, and store all the documents you create in the LegalNature library. You can store an unlimited number of versions of the documents as well.
Additionally, LegalNature offers à la carte business services for an extra cost, such as articles of amendment, business formation documents, and certificates of good standing.
Whether you need legal documents for a single use or an ongoing basis, LegalNature gives you an easy way to draft offer letters, NDAs, and other HR forms that are a regular need for a growing business.
Nolo – Best for Doing It All Yourself
- Extensive library of books & ebooks
- 1-year subscription to forms
- Business advice in plain English
- Financial & estate software
Unless you’re a lawyer, you probably don’t want to do litigation yourself or represent yourself in court. But there’s a lot in business, real estate, and family law that you can handle on your own. And that’s where Nolo comes in.
While many of the other options on my list offer ways to find or retain legal counsel and advice, Nolo offers a vast library of legal products that anyone can pick up and use.
Nolo’s products are broken down into three categories: books with legal advice and guidance for common needs, all the forms you’d need to file for business and personal actions, and software for estate planning, trusts, and managing finances.
Nolo’s library of resources is extensive and are written by their team of lawyers and legal experts. You can find deep-dive guides on everything from being a landlord or negotiating a commercial lease to dealing with workplace conflict or learning to make patent drawings.
Each book contains hundreds of pages of expert advice in easy-to-understand writing, with updated editions coming out when legal guidelines or best practices change. Purchase the physical book, ebook or PDF version, or a bundle of both.
Plus, the books are supported further by the deep archive of legal articles on Nolo’s website. You can always refer to those for greater detail or context on subjects.
Many of the books also contain relevant forms on the topic, which you can easily download after purchase. You can also go straight to the forms and purchase them a la carte.
Nolo covers all the bases. They have forms for the most common legal actions, including:
- Business formation and operation
- Estate planning, trusts, and family law
- Landlord, real estate, and leases
- Intellectual property
- Taxes and finance
- Accidents and injuries
The best part is Nolo’s pricing structure. You pay a single price for a one-year subscription that allows you to create and fill as many of the form types as you need.
That’s incredibly convenient for forms you need often. For example, the $34.99 for an independent contractor agreement quickly becomes dirt cheap if you’re scaling up your W-9 workforce in a hurry.
Learn and file to your heart’s content through Nolo. You can pocket the rest of what you would’ve spent on a legal consultation.
Avvo – Best for Online Legal Q&As
- Extensive lawyer directory
- Legal questions answered online
- Tons of free articles
- Get multiple lawyer responses
Avvo is unique on our online legal services list.
The platform has an extensive lawyer directory to help you find an attorney in your area. But it also gives you free online answers to your legal questions.
You can browse questions that were asked by other people or post your own question and get responses from multiple lawyers.
Popular questions and legal advice on Avvo are related to:
- Child custody
- Criminal defense
- Landlord and tenant
- Personal injury
- Prenuptial agreement
- Traffic violations
There are hundreds of legal topics that Avvo can help you with.
In addition to the lawyer directory and free Q&A, Avvo also has tons of free articles, resources, and guides with legal advice. For those of you who need legal questions answered online but don’t want to pay expensive attorney consultation fees, Avvo is your best option.
UpCounsel – Best for Outsourcing Your Legal Department
- Network of 5,000+ lawyers
- Used by 10,000+ businesses
- Strictly confidential
- Collaborate with a lawyer online
UpCounsel is great for a wide range of legal services.
From one-time personal legal consultations to an entire freelance legal department for your business, UpCounsel has it all.
It’s even used by top brands that frequently deal with complex legal matters. If companies like Airbnb rely on UpCounsel, you know you’ll be in good hands, too.
Popular legal categories offered on UpCounsel include:
- Business formation
- General counsel
- Labor and employment
- Securities and finance
Here’s how it works.
You start by posting a “job” that is a summary of your business and legal needs. This information, and anything else you share on UpCounsel, is strictly confidential.
The UpCounsel algorithm automatically matches you with attorneys qualified to handle your specific needs. These lawyers send you proposals, and from there you can schedule a free consultation with no obligation.
Once you’ve selected the best lawyer for your needs, you hire them. All pricing is straightforward, so you never have to worry about hidden fees. You can collaborate with your lawyer directly through the UpCounsel platform.
UpCounsel makes it easy to manage all of your communications in one place. The platform offers time-tracked phone calls and free document management.
You’ll also be able to manage your invoices, track your spending, and benefit from flexible payment options. If you worked with a lawyer in the past that you liked, UpCounsel makes it easy to work with them again.
If you need dedicated legal support that’s always available when you need it, reach out to UpCounsel today.
LegalMatch – Best for Finding an Attorney Near You
- Get matched with a local attorney
- High-rated licensed lawyers
- Responses within 24 hours
- In business 20+ years
LegalMatch is designed to match you with an attorney close to home. It’s the best choice for those of you seeking legal counsel in your local area.
The process is simple, quick, and straightforward. Just provide your location and choose a category from the following topic areas:
- Criminal defense
- Real estate
LegalMatch automatically connects you with a highly-rated and licensed lawyer near you. The best part? This connection and referral process is totally free.
LegalMatch has been helping people find local lawyers for the last 20 years, and more than five million cases have been posted on the site.
Once you post your case, you’ll have a response within 24 hours. This makes LegalMatch a great option for time-sensitive matters.
After you’re matched, you have full access to the attorney’s profile and background information. You also have access to user ratings and reviews shared by previous clients, so you can make an educated decision. LegalMatch also provides a complete breakdown of each lawyer’s fee structure.
LegalMatch is an ideal option for finding lawyers without pressure. Simply choose which lawyer is best for your needs after reviewing all the provided options.
You’re never under any obligation to hire a lawyer or sign a contract when you’re matched with an attorney through this platform. Try LegalMatch risk-free today.
How to Choose the Best Online Legal Service For Your Business
With so many different online legal services to choose from, it can be tough to narrow down your options. It’s always easier to navigate something when you have a road map to guide you.
This is the methodology I used to create this top list. I’ll go through each factor in greater detail so you can understand what matters the most as you’re considering online legal services.
Legal Practice Focus
Online legal services vary according to their offerings—with some specializing in certain areas and others taking a broader approach.
That’s why it’s important to find a service that covers the type of legal help you need. After all, someone going through a divorce doesn’t need the same attorney as a freelancer drafting a contract for a new client.
Take a look at the areas where each online legal service focuses. Companies like RocketLawyer, LegalZoom, and IncFile can help you form LLCs and corporations.
Some of them like LegalZoom and IncFile let you go deeper and help you register trademarks.
LegalZoom can even help you establish copyright for original creative work or a patent for an invention or product. They’ve worked with creators to establish more than 650,000 IP filings and processed more than 90,000 copyright applications.
On the other hand, platforms like Avvo and LegalMatch are primarily used for finding an in-person lawyer to assist you in your area. Think of them as the Craigslist of legal services (only without the sketchy posts).
Also, consider whether or not you have business or personal legal needs. Some platforms offer online legal services for both, while others specialize in one or the other.
Business Stage and Size
If you’re looking for online legal services for personal matters such as immigration or divorce, then go ahead and skip this section as it doesn’t apply to you.
However, if you are on the hunt for online legal services for your business, then keep reading.
There are two main things you need to consider when looking for legal services for business purposes.
- Size. How big is your business? A small mom-and-pop shop will need very different legal services than a 1,000+ employee corporation.
- Stage. Where is your business in its lifecycle? If you’re an entrepreneur at the beginning of your business journey, then you may need legal services that can aid with business formation solutions. However, if your business is already established, then you may need help with contracts and hiring new employees.
If you’re in the startup world, I suggest you look to an online legal service like Incfile to register your company.
If you’ve got a midsized company, chances are good that you won’t need constant legal services, but rather only as issues arise. For this scenario, a service like LegalMatch is perfect for connecting you with a good attorney on demand. And if you’re in need of specialized advice, Rocket Lawyer is your go-to.
If you’re a larger organization, then you’ll want something more like UpCounsel that will connect you to the attorneys you need to represent your business. UpCounsel is the best option for helping you outsource your entire legal department.
Frequency of Use
How often will you be using the online legal service?
You may need an attorney for a one-time event. This can be to file paperwork, draft a contract, or settle a dispute. In this case, LegalMatch or Avvo are a better match for your needs.
If you’re looking to create an ongoing relationship with a lawyer but on an on-demand basis, Rocket Lawyer or LegalZoom will make a suitable choice. Both services will connect you with lawyers who will work with you to quickly resolve any legal issues.
Being clear on how often you’ll need legal assistance is cost-effective, too.
Why? The pricing structures for online legal services vary from platform to platform. Some charge an ongoing fee for a membership, which may be great for a business that anticipates regularly needing legal help. Other services charge on a per-case or per-use basis, which is helpful for one-off situations.
Speed of Assistance
Timeliness is crucial when it comes to legal assistance. After all, emergencies can pop up that require legal help as soon as possible.
Platforms like LegalMatch promise that an attorney will respond to your case within 24 hours of your request.
Avvo works a lot like Quora, allowing you to post a question and have it answered by lawyers on their website. You can also jump into a history of questions other users have already asked to find answers to situations similar to your own.
Getting your question answered for free on an online legal forum isn’t the best option for those of you who need to speak with a lawyer within the next few hours, though. Make sure you find a platform that’s easy to use and allows you to choose a lawyer quickly without any pressure or obligation.
And if you want the security of knowing you always have a lawyer that knows your business and is available on demand, there’s always a service like UpCounsel. This gives you the power of a legal department at just a fraction of the cost if you hired your own in-house counsel.
Live Legal Assistance
In many cases you won’t ever need to meet up with a lawyer. However, if you need to meet face-to-face with an attorney (due to security concerns or a complex issue), you’ll want to find a service that can quickly connect you with an attorney.
In keeping pace with the evolving landscape of remote working, many of these services will also connect you with lawyers willing to consult with you over Zoom or the phone.
Of course, being matched with a lawyer that’s across the country won’t be ideal if you need help in the courtroom or with local or state laws. In those cases, you’ll more likely want to find a lawyer closer to home.
If so, look for a platform that allows you to find a qualified lawyer based on your ZIP code or state. Our choices for the best services with directories— LegalMatch, Avvo, and LegalZoom—are good places to start.
The Top Online Legal Services in Summary
If you need to find a lawyer, start a business, or get legal advice, Rocket Lawyer and LegalShield are the two best online legal services to consider. These platforms give you access to legal help without having to leave your home or office. Plus, you won’t always be limited to attorneys in your area.
Putting all the legal aspects of your business in order is one of the best things you can do for your company. You’ll be surprised at how affordable some of these services are, especially when you consider how much money they can save you down the road.