Today is Black Friday, and so I wanted to do a little bit of a different topic for today's Freedom Friday blog and email newsletter. I still wanted to answer a frequently asked question, but maybe something more light-hearted and general, and not specific to some of the other topics I frequently talk about here. I do get this question from a lot of prospective clients, and some of them eventually hire me, and some of them don't, but the question they ask is this: “Why can't I do this myself?” So, in today's Freedom Friday blog and email newsletter, I am going to answer the question, “Why not do it yourself?”
“Why not do it yourself?” That is a really good question. Why not, after all, there are a lot of online tools which can help you “do it yourself,” like LegalZoom, among others. In fact, there is a growing list of platforms where you can get automated documents of all kinds, and its not just LegalZoom anymore. Just fill out a form, answer a few questions, pay a fee, and presto majesto, you get your LLC, your contract, your trust, your will, or whatever it is that you need. I see this all the time, many of these services advertise on Facebook and Google, and they appeal to so many people as they advertise these types of “do it yourself” services for a reasonable and/or affordable price. So why not?
LegalZoom and these other services can sometimes provide a good service, for some people, some of the time. However, as an attorney, I always advise people to be careful when using LegalZoom or a similar service, to avoid future problems. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Some of the documents you can get from these services may just be OK for some kinds of people, in certain kinds of situations, to meet certain kinds of needs, i.e. you will get a boilerplate template document, perhaps an LLC, or a contract, or a trust or will. For some people, this is just OK. However, sometimes, especially for your small business, just being “OK” is not good enough for what you really need.
First of all, LegalZoom and these other services are not attorneys; they are not licensed to practice law, and they do not provide legal advice to their customers. While they do provide a service, i.e. document drafting, they cannot give you as their client the legal judgment that only an attorney can give you. For example, you can give LegalZoom the information needed to draft a document, but these DIY legal services will not necessarily ask you the pertinent questions which an attorney might ask you regarding your situation. For instance, if you're starting a small business, some boilerplate documents might be acceptable for routine transactions. However, if you have business “partners” (you're not forming a single-member LLC), the DIY legal services won't pick up on very important legal issues which you really need to discuss with an attorney, and be advised on, in forming your LLC. Even if these are very small errors or issues, they can lead to major problems later on. These major problems could be avoided, saving you the small business owner time and money. Again, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
There is a big advantage to you as the small business owner that you get by consulting with an actual attorney, instead of using LegalZoom or another DIY legal service. That advantage is you can actually have the peace of mind that your attorney is providing you with legal judgment. An attorney is licensed to practice law, and as a licensed attorney, he or she is expected to zealously advocate for their clients and protect their interests. Anything less than that means the attorney is just not being ethical. Attorneys are actually bound to practice law within the rules of ethics and provide you as a client their legal judgment. This involves asking pertinent questions about your situation, picking up on the details, and customizing their services to meet their individual and specific needs as a client. Unfortunately, LegalZoom and DIY legal services don't function that way, as they are not actual attorneys. There is an advantage in consulting with an attorney and getting insight and legal judgment.
If you are interested in starting a small business anywhere in Oklahoma, or you are interested in restructuring your small business, please contact me at [email protected] to schedule a FREE strategy session.
For more information about Liberty Legal Solutions, LLC, please visit our website at http://www.libertylegalok.com/