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Will LegalZoom IPO Mean More Lost Business for Attorneys?

By Edward Tan, JD | Last updated on

For many attorneys, the challenge of running their own practice isn't necessarily the law. It's keeping their business going. Maintaining a healthy flow of clients isn't easy, and sites like LegalZoom don't help matters much.

The online do-it-yourself legal documents company recently filed for an IPO with the SEC. Some analysts believe the move could raise up to $120 million for the organization.

So how many potential clients are your firm losing to LegalZoom, and is there hope?

LegalZoom's profits continue to grow. In 2011, the company's revenue was $156.1 million. That's more than a 29 percent bump from the previous year. Also in 2011, more than 20 percent of new California LLCs were formed using LegalZoom.

The online company targets small businesses and consumers. For many solo and small firm attorneys, this is bad news. Especially since LegalZoom's success has created a number of copycats, such as Rocket Lawyer and BizFilings. The market is already overcrowded with attorneys, more competitors isn't something lawyers need.

But what's important to note is that companies like LegalZoom can't actually offer legal services in the same way attorneys can. The company isn't licensed to practice law and in fact they recently settled a class action suit involving this issue.

Part of running a successful business is distinguishing yourself from the competition. And the fact that your firm can actually practice law and give advice beyond handing out forms is what makes you different from LegalZoom and its ilk.

However, that still doesn't solve the problem of other attorneys nipping at your heels. Advertising helps, but in this age of social media and SEO, your marketing needs a little more oomph. So talk to a specialist that can help you stem the tide of loss business. LegalZoom and your fellow competitors aren't holding back, you shouldn't either.

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