Thanks to a host of emerging online lawyer-matching services, finding legal help for your business has gotten a whole lot cheaper.
UpCounsel.com is a new online marketplace where small businesses and startups can find help for a range of legal services, whether incorporating a business, drafting a contract or seeking intellectual property expertise. Business owners put requests on UpCounsel that describe the help they need and lawyers then bid on the projects within 24 hours. The business can select the offer that best fits its needs and cost range. All payments for legal services provided are processed through the site.
Businesses can also browse through lawyer profiles on the site to find one that fits their specific needs.
The hourly rate business clients pay through UpCounsel are about 50 percent less than a typical law firm’s fees because the lawyers and other legal professionals can reduce their overhead costs tremendously by arranging work through the site, UpCounsel CEO Matt Faustman told TechCrunch.com. UpCounsel screens all attorneys who sign up to provide services through the site to ensure they have malpractice insurance, the necessary certifications and at least two years’ experience. So far, 150 lawyers in California are registered on the site, but Faustman says they plan to add 1,000 more in the next 12 months.
Business owners can leave reviews of the lawyers they’ve hired through the site.
But UpCounsel isn’t the only player trying to revolutionize the way small businesses and startups get legal assistance. FizzLaw.com and RocketLawyer.com are two other sites that match business owners with lawyers. RocketLawyer, a San Francisco-based company that has gotten several rounds of venture capital, also provides do-it-yourself legal forms and a couple subscription plans that let businesses choose the level of legal guidance and personalized help they need. LegalZoom.com and FreeAdvice.com are two others to check out.
Small businesses and startup entrepreneurs willing to vet their own lawyer can also use general online talent marketplaces, such as ELance.com and Gigwalk.com, to connect with lawyers. However, these sites don’t provide the vetting and legal specialization provided by some other sites.
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