One of the most frequent questions that we hear is, “should I get my LLC through Legal Zoom?” Well, we aren’t going to tell you how to spend your money. But, we will share some thoughts for you to consider as you travel through what many entrepreneurs consider “foreign territory”.
Legal Zoom isn’t a law firm and therefore can’t practice law in Oklahoma. You have to have a license to practice law. Since we’re a law firm, then this is a distinguishing factor in our minds that deserves careful evaluation.
In general, people like to make decisions based on price. Psychologically, there are some good reasons for doing so. First, price doesn’t require any brainpower for most folks. “Hey, dude, those guys have the lower price!” If the only real comparison is the price, then making a decision usually doesn’t require much work. This can be really nice when you are feeling a little lazy and wanting to avoid making that giant muscle in your head do the heavy lifting of considering all the factors.
Second, the price allows for “boasting rights”. Everyone loves to tell their best buds about the great deal they just made. Being a little sexist (and politically incorrect), women like to show off the new clothes they found on sale and tell their BFF about the bargain. Similarly, just take a look at a guy who just struck a deal on one of those great big 4 x 4 trucks. He goes to work and brags about how he made the best deal ever! Okay, it may be generalizations, but hopefully you get the point. Finding the lowest price gives the ol’ ego a certain degree of satisfaction.
Are you in business to make money or to get bragging rights? Should your pride, ego, and emotions play the determining factor in the business decisions you make? Are tough business decisions usually the easy ones?
In looking solely at price, is Legal Zoom the very cheapest provider that you can find? If not, then why are you willing to pay Legal Zoom more than one of its competitors? Why not go all out low cost and try to do it for free? You might notice that we didn’t include our law firm as a competitor of Legal Zoom. We aren’t a competitor of the company. We’re a law firm providing legal service. It wouldn’t make sense for a lawyer to compete with a non-lawyer on price. There’s no realistic way to compete on a pure pricing with an internet form provider who didn’t go to law school or pass the bar exam.
Legal Zoom is selling forms, not legal advice. The distinction is critical. A good form is a valuable tool. A good set of tires is highly beneficial to transportation where you want to go. But, good tires aren’t reliable transportation. Good forms, like good tires, play a big part in what you should be attempting to accomplish. But, using an LLC to safeguard your personal family assets from business liability is more than just a few forms from an online vendor.
Back to those bragging rights — how’s the guy bragging about his new 4 x 4 going to look to his buddies if they go out to the parking lot to see only 4 tires? “You ding dong. That’s not a 4 x 4 — those are just the tires!” “What an idiot!” If you want an LLC that’s going to get the job done, then it’s going to require a lot more than forms filed with the State. That little piece of paper you got back from the State isn’t an LLC.
To clarify, we aren’t going to tell you not to use Legal Zoom. We don’t know if you really understand what you are doing with an LLC. Legal Zoom may be the perfect solution if you know what a real LLC looks like. But, if your knowledge of the law is so limited that you can’t distinguish 4 tires from a 4 x 4 truck, it may not be the deal you think you are making.
If you run in any nearly any type of business circles, it isn’t long before you hear someone telling you how to set up your LLC without a lawyer. We quietly listen to these discussions fairly often. The advice non-lawyer give is quite amazing. The lack of knowledge and understanding among some of the self-professed experts is nothing short of fiction.
Rather than listen to the guy who knows everything, it might make more sense to talk to the homeless guy on the corner! He may be broke because the LLC that he formed didn’t withstand a court challenge. If so, he can give you a real-life account of what happens if you don’t set up your LLC using the law.
People learn in various ways and manners. We always liked the idea of watching others make mistakes and trying to avoid making the same ones.
If Legal Zoom is the right fit, go for it! The company seems to have a ton of business.
But, if you want to begin establishing a relationship with an experienced attorney who has thousands and thousands of hours in contested litigation, you might consider us. We like to think there’s a real difference between our law firm giving sound legal advice and just paying for online forms.