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Every small business is bound to have legal questions at some point. And because not every business can have in-house legal counsel, there are online legal services to provide the help you need.
One such option is BizCounsel, from the founders of LegalZoom, which has attorneys at the ready to answer any and all of your small-business legal questions.
BizCounsel provides assistance for a variety of legal needs, including:
On-call tax advice.
Personal and business tax preparation.
Custom document drafting.
Attorney advice and guidance.
No-hassle attorney scheduling.
Registered agent services.
BizCounsel offers a variety of subscription plans. Each of the plans comes with some level of custom document drafting, including:
Debt collection letter.
Cease and desist.
Independent contractor agreement.
Website terms and conditions.
Convertible note agreement.
Another important feature to note is the BizCounsel Client Portal, which allows business owners to self-schedule a consultation with their attorney, as well as upload contracts or legal documents for review, contact tax services team, update their registered agent, get in touch with customer support and change any personal information associated with their account.
Because BizCounsel employs attorneys from all over the country, you can be sure there will be a lawyer who knows the laws of the state in which your business operates. Its lawyers also specialize in various areas of law so that you can be sure you’re working with someone familiar with your exact legal needs.
$89 per month
Unlimited attorney consultations, flat-rate document drafting, registered agent services
Small businesses with limited budget that are just in need of legal documents to get off the ground
$129 per month
Everything in the Basic plan plus 2 contract reviews (10 pages or less), on-call tax advice, discounted personal and business tax prep
Small businesses that have never done business taxes before and need the assistance
$189 per month
Everything in the Premium plan plus 2 contract reviews (15 pages or less), $50 credit per month for custom document drafting
Bigger-budget small businesses that want to get everything in one spot and probably run a service business that requires more contract work
BizCounsel offers three subscription plans, each of which offers varying levels of service.
BizCounsel has an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau and has been an accredited BBB business since 2019. BizCounsel seems to do its best to address negative reviews and remedy the situation.
The common positive theme among reviewers is that the lawyers are very attentive, knowledgeable and understanding — and people felt their money was well-spent based on the advice and services they got in return. Reviewers also span several industries, which is a good sign for BizCounsel’s experience working across industries.
Among the negative reviews, users have complained about having difficulty scheduling appointments with their attorneys. Also note that the hourly cost of attorneys varies significantly depending on where you live, so in some cases, the prices at BizCounsel won’t be cheaper than what you could find going with a local law firm.
Also worth noting, its website isn’t the most user-friendly or easy to navigate, and based on reviews, that doesn’t get better once you become a member. Some older reviews mentioned the absence of a user dashboard to easily schedule an appointment with an attorney; however, as of May 2020, BizCounsel has added a Client Portal to make scheduling easier. Beyond the Client Portal, users are also able to call BizCounsel’s Customer Relations line from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT Monday through Friday or email to schedule an appointment with an attorney.
Created by the founders of LegalZoom, another popular online legal service.
Reasonable prices for small businesses on a budget.
Don’t have to pay per hour to speak to an attorney.
Get matched with an attorney experienced in your industry.
Client portal for all scheduling and document uploading.
Might take time to schedule time with your attorney.
Before you can get started, you need to answer some questions to see if your business qualifies.
Website isn’t the easiest to navigate.
Your individual experience will vary based on attorney and business needs.
May not have as many offerings as other online legal services.
While the client portal is helpful, it’s not easy to find on the website.
Before you decide if BizCounsel is right for your business, consider these top alternatives.
It’s only natural that LegalZoom would be a competitor of BizCounsel, since they were born from the same minds. Businesses that don’t want to commit to a membership price could benefit from the individual pricing that LegalZoom offers. LegalZoom offers services like attorney consultations, contract and document reviews, unlimited downloads of documents that have been created, access to tax professionals and exclusive discounts.
Since LegalZoom offers a different pricing structure, each service (such as registering a DBA name) comes with its own package options. This would be a good alternative for a small business that is just looking for assistance on one specific document or service and doesn’t need all the bells and whistles of a full membership program.
Rocket Lawyer offers legal document drafting and review, attorney consultations, free incorporation filings for new members and registered agent services. The amount of each service you get depends on if you go with its premium membership option or the non-member option.
The Premium membership goes for $39.99 per month, but you can also choose services on an à la carte basis, which is the non-member pricing. Both options come with a seven-day free trial, with charges starting automatically after that. The non-member pricing offers flat rates for services on a one-time, one-question or one-document basis. Since Rocket Lawyer does offer similar services at a much cheaper price, small businesses just starting out (and that don’t have funding or other capital yet) would benefit the most from this alternative.
USLegal offers document services on topics such as business incorporation, confidentiality agreements, dividends, mergers and acquisitions, along with many others. The Basic plan starts at just $8 per month and gives customers access to unlimited legal forms. The Premium plan, at $15 per month, offers everything in the basic plan, plus additional documents that aren’t specific to business but might come in handy. For businesses on an especially tight budget with minor legal needs, this could be a good BizCounsel alternative.
Lastly, eForms offers business documents like bill of sale, loan agreements, non-compete agreements, promissory notes and release forms. This service offers three different plan options, a monthly plan, a single document plan and an annual plan. The monthly plan is free for seven days and then $39.99 per month after that. The annual plan is $199 per year, and the per document option comes in at $45 per document.
If you’re operating a small business that is just in need of document creation, review or setup for e-signatures, eForms will provide that at a low price, especially if there is only one or a few documents you need. There's no need to pay for services that you aren’t going to use when an option like this exists.
A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet