One challenge for many startups is the high cost of legal fees. Rocket Lawyer recently did a study that found 45 percent of businesses have legal issues to resolve in the next three months. From incorporation to contracts, quarterly meetings, and more, there are lots of legal expenses that are required of a startup owner. The company is now offering legal help in a group-buying, insurance company plan format.
I spoke with Founder and Chairman Charley Moore to learn about Rocket Lawyer On Call, a benefit for people who sign up for their legal plan service. For $40 a month, your small business can have a lawyer review contracts and documents (whether created via the Rocket Lawyer service or not) as if they were on retainer to your company. Letters and corporate minutes can also be reviewed. Additionally, if this legal review is not enough, the company has partnered with Legal Club of America to provide lawyers from their network that will work with your company at 40% off of their typical fees. Some additional services are a fixed cost, such as a $750 bankruptcy filing, (which you hopefully won’t need.)
“Every small business needs legal help. What we’ve done with Rocket Lawyer On Call is to make it affordable for them to get it. There are small business issues every quarter, from filings to minutes, and we’re trying to make it easier for companies to get regular legal help,” said Moore. I asked Moore why lawyers would provide such a steep discount. “We have 2.5MM registered users, and more than 40,000 people on this legal plan. So we’re giving almost a group purchase of legal services option.”
Small business owners can also use the services for estate planning. “We help the small biz owner to integrate their business, which is often their largest asset, into their estate planning early on, since legal issues should be part of their personal and business plans.”
In addition to the discounted services, the plan also allows subscribers to use some cloud-based storage of documents, and to use Rocket Lawyer’s document creation and legal health score engine. We covered that feature previously, but Moore told me they’ve since updated it based on use requests and feedback. One thing that often shows up on a legal health checkup is the lack of an employee manual, said Moore. “If you have hired, but don’t have employee handbook, you may be in violation of state law and if an employee has a grievance, you can be in a large amount of trouble.”
The Rocket Lawyer On Call service has been in testing during the spring, but rolls out to the public today. What do you think of this offering? Let us know more about the legal needs of your small business in the comments.
Last updated: Jul 12, 2011
HOWARD GREENSTEIN is a social media strategist and evangelist, and president of the Harbrooke Group, which specializes in helping companies communicate with their customers using the latest Web technologies. @HowardGr