Saturday, March 9, 2019

FREE & LOW COST LEGAL CONSULTATION & BUSINESS CONSULTATION

6 Resources for Free & Inexpensive Legal Advice & Business Mentoring




(Photo Credit: Rawpixel- Unsplash)

If you aren't blessed enough to be surrounded by wealthy business gurus, CPAs, and Attorneys, you’re probably lost when it comes to business and legal matters like I was.

You may have searched for free legal help online only to be bombarded by attorneys offering a free short 15-30 minute consultation.... then if you do end up getting a free consult, they typically leave you more confused than when you started.

I had an attorney offer to consult with me for $175, just for 30 minutes! Are you friggin kidding me?? I know they are providing a service with an area of expertise, but it's downright wrong to take advantage of people like that. People should know the laws that govern them, and they shouldn't have to pay exorbitant fees just to get some info about it. Come on America! We're better than this! 
In today’s day and age, the amount of attorneys in the US are at an all-time high, and so are lawsuits. So of course as a business & individual, you need protection… and this kind of resource is not easily or cheaply obtained.

So, to make your life easier, I've listed some outstanding resources for you to get business consultation and free and low cost legal services

(Photo Credit: Rawpixel- Unsplash)

FREE & LOW COST LEGAL SERVICES

AVVO: Avvo is 100% free. On this site, you can post a question, (as many questions as you want) but only one question at a time. Once your question is posted, 2-3 attorneys, with that particularly area of expertise, will answer your question in 24-28 hours. I've had questions answered on a holiday, so that was pretty impressive. The point of the site is for you to get some quick legal questions answered, while the attorneys can potentially acquisition clients and drum up some business. 

However, there are some drawbacks to this site. One drawback is that the attorneys answers aren't always very detailed, and some of their answers can be somewhat condescending, at times. But, the positive in this is that at least you know it's real humans answering your questions. Another thing I've experienced is that their answers are typically not very detailed, and they almost ALWAYS circle back around to "oh, you should find attorney to talk to", (as if that wasn't what you were doing when you posted the question on the site in the first place). It's like they scratch the surface, but they won't get down into the meat and potatoes, because they're obviously in this to get business out of it. Bottom line, it's good to use the site in a pinch when you have a quick legal question, but not if you have a more complex question that involves several facets. 


LEGAL SHIELD: They are a very low cost legal service and they're the highest rated--and for a good reason. I've personally used both the business and personal plans, and they absolutely rock on both! 

The way they operate is by being the go-between with you and a standard attorney office in your local area, whom Legal Shield has contracted with. There is a cost, but it's peanuts compared to the attorney I spoke about in the beginning of this article. 

Basically, you pay a monthly membership fee: $25 for personal plan or $40 for the business plan. With these plans you get unlimited phone consultations. They will also write letters and make phone calls on your behalf. They also offer representation in court, but only if you're sued in a civil matter. Another great resource they have is quite a few common legal documents, such as Lease, Articles of Organization, Non-disclosure Agreement, Independent Contractor agreement, etc.  They don't represent you with criminal matters, but they can advise you on what you should do, which makes this service an invaluable tool in both the personal and business world! 

They have a guarantee that they'll have an attorney call you back within 4 business hours, but most of the time, I've had attorneys call back within 30 minutes to an hour. They've even called me back after business hours. 

(Another bonus is, if you're a small business registered with the state as an LLC, and you purchase the $40 business plan, you also can add a GoSmallBiz membership for an additional $15 per month. If you're a small business not registered with the state, you can add on a GoSmallBiz supplement for $10 per month when you add it to the personal $25 plan. GoSmallBiz is an excellent resource that provides guidance to help any type business get on the right track. Details on GoSmallBiz below.)

Admittedly, I first thought this "prepaid legal" service was a  scam, because it just sounds scammy and too good to be true. But that is certainly not the case. It's 100% legit and I've received incredible value from them. I tried to find the flaw or catch with this Legal Shield, but I haven't been able to find one. The small amount of customer complaints that they do have typically comes from people who don't have a full understanding of the type of services they offer and the limitations to the service. You're not going to get a full service attorney for $25- $40 bucks a month. But the consultations and resources alone are worth much more than the price. I should also let you know that I'm not being compensated for referrals to this place. I'm just recommending this service because I truly believe in it. It has gotten me through a many of sleepless nights.

If you want to see the law firms they use, you can find their contracted law firm in your area here. 


ROCKET LAWYER: Rocket Lawyer can be a good resource when it comes to getting legal documents and forms. They have over 40k legal forms. That is certainly their strength and specialty. They also have legal consultations, but it's handled a bit differently than with Legal Shield. With Rocket Lawyer, a member can either ask a simple legal question on the online forum, or if it's a more complex issue, they can get a free 30 minute consultation with an attorney. However, you're limited to only 1 call per legal matter. If you need any further consultation beyond that, you'll have to hire their attorney, but you get a 40% discount off their rates. 

LEGALZOOM: You'll see a lot of different sites recommending LegalZoom as a low-cost alternative to hiring attorneys, probably because they receive a commission for the referral. However I say NO! Don't do it! I have not had any personal experience with this service. However, I almost did use their service, but saw that they had an avg of 1 star review on the consumer affairs website.  Common complaints were that they overcharge credit cards, mess up the legal paperwork (huge deal, since it's whole purpose is to protect you), and it takes forever just to get someone on the phone or to get the services actually completed. The other downside is that they make you pay for 6 months in advance, whereas other sites like Rocket Lawyer and LegalShield charge monthly, and you can cancel at anytime. Thank God we did not use Legalzoom, and you shouldn't either!


(Photo Credit: Rawpixel- Unsplash)

FREE & LOW COST BUSINESS CONSULTATION


BIGGER POCKETS: This is mostly an online forum for real estate investing. However, there is a lot of business related things covered, since real estate is a business. You can sign up for a free account and start discussions and ask questions on a number of business related topics. You'll also find several tools and resources on this site. 


QUORA: Quora is an online forum where you can ask ANY question at all. They have tons of categories to choose from. So you can ask a question that specifically applies to your business, and you'll get loads of answers from the community. Many of the members just want the credentials of being a pro in their field, and others want nothing other than the credit of knowing they had the top answer. It's kind of like when you're in school, and the teacher asks the class a question, and you excitedly raise your hand and wave it around saying: "I know! I know!" 


GO SMALL BIZ: Have you ever felt alone in trying to get your business off the ground and wished you had a business mentor who could help you get going on the right track? That's what you'll find with GoSmallBiz. I absolutely LOVE this resource! This is the service I was talking about adding onto your Legalshield membership. GoSmallBiz is a paid membership, but totally worth it. Once again, I'm not receiving a commission for referrals to this resource, though it would be nice. Ha!  

With GoSmallBiz, you get unlimited free business consultations, which includes legal matters. You also get tax & accounting info, business/legal documents, business plan software, accounting tracking software, website builder, website analysis(critique), business courses, and tons of other tools and resources. 

The only drawback that I could find about the service is that the consultations are done by messaging through the website, and it takes up to 2 days for a response. However, it's still an incredibly value for the price. 

There's a couple options when it comes to the pricing/plan.
Option 1: $40 per month
Option 2: $15 per month if you add it onto your legalshield business plan, (which was mentioned earlier in this article).


Did this just save you time, money, and headache?! I'm still a pretty small operation in the grand scheme of the internet, so please don't forget to share this valuable info with your friends!

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