Savvy entrepreneurs are always looking for cheap legal advice for small business. Free is better, but cheap is good enough. However, one must be aware of the adage, “pay peanuts and you get monkeys.” So, how does an entrepreneur balance cheap legal advice for small business with excellent quality? Well, it’s not a walk in the park.
Most startups and small businesses don’t have the funds to pay the retainer for a name brand, white-shoe law firm partner, much less ongoing legal fees for every aspect of a business. Is cheap legal advice out there, though? As a business owner, your priority is to ensure every decision you make for your company is one legally sound and is compliant with regulations. Luckily, today’s small business owner has access to reliable, quality, but inexpensive legal services – mostly thanks to the internet.
Sources for Cheap Legal Advice for Small Business
Finding the Legal Answers You Need
Legal resources for small business are always best when they are specific and custom to a situation. In other words, if you can hire an attorney or get an inexpensive consultation from a local lawyer, that’s the best. The individual focus can be precious. However, there are third-party websites and tools available that trim backs the cost and still can provide quality legal advice. Though this is less commonly specific to your business, it even can give you the information you need to make key decisions.
Legal Clinics at Law Schools
Many law schools offer legal clinics. These are opportunities for soon-to-be attorneys to sit down and provide services to a client. Legal clinics do not allow you to talk to an attorney directly, in most cases. Rather, you’ll be getting advice and guidance from a legal student. Most students are in their final years of legal education and prepping for the Bar Exam. This type of service offers some benefits:
- They tend to be considerably less expensive overall. Some services are free.
- They charge a flat fee in many cases, rather than hourly or requiring a retainer.
- You’ll be talking to a student who is generally up-to-date on modern laws and changing legal views.
- Most will allow you to discuss nearly any legal topic.
It is still important to recognize that you are not working directly with an attorney. If you have a law school available to you locally, visit their website or call them to learn more about legal clinic availability. Harvard Law School and Duke University are just two examples.
Legal Information Websites
Is it safe to trust what you read online? In some cases, yes. The first rule of thumb is to verify any information you find online from multiple reliable sources before you elect to use the provided details for any legal decision. Informational websites are often a good starting point, providing you with a place to start in your research on legal options and consequences.
You’ll also need to ensure the information gathered online is up to date. Don’t assume this is the case. These are nearly always free and cheap legal resources, but they often are written by attorneys or other legal professionals. Verify their sources and their expertise to safeguard the decisions you make, though.
Some key options to consider include:
- NOLO (Versatile, covering most topics)
- FindLaw (Comprehensive, useful for research)
- National Archives (Excellent for research, case studies, and court opinions)
New Generation Legal Resources for Small Business
Today, there are additional services, some that are free and others that are very inexpensive, available to you as well. Some offer click-pay-get advice set up where you can access the counsel of attorneys or legal professionals right from your laptop. Again, this is not a replacement for a traditional attorney, but it can provide another low-cost solution for many people. Here are a few examples.
For any business legal plan, consider LegalZoom. This service is affordable and provides ongoing support to users. A nice feature is the ability to ask legal questions and get situation-specific answers to them. You can also have an attorney review your business contract.
This site is perhaps one of the most modern and heavily used options available. The site allows users to create a legal document for free at the start. You can then download this document and use it as you need to, such as a contract for services. The Rocket Lawyer membership gives you access to unlimited legal papers and some helpful tools such as allowing for online signatures. There is a component that allows you to ask legal questions to an attorney as well.
This on-demand service is a useful tool for accessing attorneys. It is especially ideal for agreements, business formation, patents, trademarks, and labor, though most types of legal needs can be met here. UpCounsel allows you to post a job or task you need an attorney to complete and then get proposals from well-qualified attorneys to do the work.
US Legal Forms
US Legal Forms lets users download the specific legal form they need, customize it, and print it off for use. It is a very straightforward tool. Forms range in different price categories, and a subscription fee is also available for ongoing service.
Print and customize a legal form in minutes. This site offers a wide range of free, necessary legal forms. Generally speaking, it is a straightforward service with reliable information. Most legal forms, business or otherwise, are available on the LawDepot site.
Summary of Sites offering Cheap Legal Advice for Small Business
|Site||Type of Service||Typical Costs||What to Expect|
|LegalZoom||Legal advice, contract creation, and review, attorneys provide situation-specific advice||$23.99 per month, plus costs for legal document creation||Have a question? This is an easy way to get an answer. Legal contracts, business-specific advice, very easy to use.|
|Rocket Lawyer||Legal documents, attorney questions||$39.95 a month after free trial||Easy to use site, suitable for basic contracts, reliable information from attorneys|
|UpCounsel||Most legal services, pay-per-service||Per hour charge ranging from $125 an hour on up||Create a fixed-fee or hourly rate for your legal project, wait for proposals, interview attorneys, get the task done.|
|US Legal Forms||Legal forms and contracts||$19.95 per month subscription or per-form fees||Choose the form you need, pay a fee, and download it.|
|LawDepot||Legal contracts, forms, and documents||Free for most needs||Easy-to-use site, but no legal advice provided.|
What’s Right for You?
When choosing any of these cheap legal advice tools, remember to back up any information you find. Multiple additional options exist online, and many of them are excellent. Free and cheap legal resources like this really can help you to get your business in line.
Disclaimer: VentureHow.com article on Cheap Legal Advice for Small Business is for informational purposes only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or the recency of the information. Please consult a legal advisor or a business advisor for what is right for your business.