How A $12 Contract Can Cost You $80,000 Or More, Part 5

LegalZoom Will NOT Protect You From You

The real problem with LegalZoom’s forms (which I have alluded to or flatly stated in prior posts) is: When things go bad, you are left holding the bag, while LegalZoom gets to wash its proverbial hands clean.

What I mean by this is: Any drafting mistakes you make when “filling out” LegalZoom’s General Agreement rests solely upon you.  You cannot hide behind LegalZoom for protection.

LegalZoom expressly states that it is a self-help service.  In its disclaimer, LegalZoom pronounces:

LegalZoom is not a law firm, and the employees of LegalZoom are not acting as your attorney.  LegalZoom’s legal document service is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. 

LegalZoom is not permitted to engage in the practice of law.  LegalZoom is prohibited from providing any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation to a consumer about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options, selection of forms or strategies.

This site is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship, and by using LegalZoom, no attorney-client relationship will be created with LegalZoom.  Instead, you are representing yourself in any legal matter you undertake through LegalZoom’s legal document service.  Accordingly, while communications between you and LegalZoom are protected by our Privacy Policy, they are not protected by the attorney-client privilege or work product doctrine.[1]

The self-help, non-attorney distinction is critical.  Unlike LegalZoom, attorneys have an ethical duty to you to act in your best interest.  Specifically, attorneys practicing in California must comply with the California Rules of Professional Conduct that governs their relationships with you or else face disciplinary action by the California State Bar or, perhaps, a breach of fiduciary duty or malpractice action by you.  The same holds true for attorneys practicing in Tennessee, who abide by the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct; New York lawyers, who must follow New York Lawyer’s Code of Professional Responsibility; and so forth and so forth.

In sum, attorneys are held accountable for their actions to you; LegalZoom is not.  Thus, I leave it to you: Is a $12 General Agreement worth relying upon to protect you from you?

 ~   The End   ~

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is intended to provide general information and does not constitute and is not intended to constitute legal advice.  Further, any analyses of facts contained herein are the mere opinions and interpretations of Erica based upon her viewpoint.  This article is designed to help readers be aware of the dangers of using legal document self-help entities based on the information she obtained from LegalZoom on May 10, 2012; thus, the information and materials contained in this article may be invalid or outdated. The content provided is not warranted or checked to ensure that the content contained herein is up-to-date.

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