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LegalShield Review: Not For Everyone [2024]

Suzanne Stewart Suzanne Stewart Finance Specialist

LegalShield is a compelling option for solo or married-couple LLC owners who want legal services or advice on an ongoing basis. Partnership or multi-member LLC owners will have to look elsewhere, though, and some may find the sign-up process a little lacking.

Overview

Free plan (plus state fees)?
LLC filing time on entry-level plan Varies
Expedited option?
One-off fees, annual subscription-based, or both? One-off fees + monthly subscription
Customer support Phone, email, online chat

For the Right Small Business, LegalShield Is a Viable Option

Detail list of LegalShield's services from the website
Launch by LegalShield offers small business owners a useful selection of legal services.

What do your local general contractor, wedding photographer, and yoga instructor all have in common? They’re all sole proprietor LLC owners who need legal contracts to run their businesses. If you want to be a solo or side-hustle Limited Liability Company (LLC) owner who will need client contracts from time to time, then LegalShield might be the right formation service for you.

My research discovered that LegalShield has found a niche that works for its business model, and if your business fits in that niche, it has a couple of really nice features to offer. Research also found it has some limitations that make it a poor, if not impossible, choice for others.

For example, LegalShield only works with single-member or married couple-based LLCs, because its business model of “personal” attorneys services doesn’t really work if more than one person or couple is involved. Partnerships need not apply.

Solo entrepreneurs may find LegalShield isn’t the easiest to sign up with, either. The website’s lack of user-friendliness can have you confused as to what services you’ll actually receive and how much you’ll pay. The sign-up’s request for certain personal information may also put some off. And then there’s the onboarding process itself, which while unique, can be a time-suck for both you and your business.

You also can’t reside outside of the US or Canada and register an LLC in the States using LegalShield. But LegalShield does offer support in English, Spanish, and French, which is more than many other LLC formation services do. Read on to find out all I uncovered, and whether or not LegalShield is a good match for your small business.

4.2

Features

Free Trial of Legal Services

LegalShield’s main business is its legal services. An assigned local attorney is made available to you for business-related matters. The Launch by LegalShield LLC formation program includes three free months of legal services. Here’s a list of some of LegalShield’s small business legal services included in the program:

  • Four documents reviewed per month, up to 25 pages each (more available for a fee)
  • Four debt collection letters created and sent per month (more available for a fee)
  • 12 phone calls or letters, with one follow-up call or letter each, on behalf of the business to attempt resolution of issues
  • Unlimited phone consultations with the business owner on legal matters
  • Three 30-minute consultations per year on tax, patent, trademark, copyright, or antitrust
  • IRS audit assistance

To sign up for Launch by LegalShield, you have to agree to a monthly recurring subscription fee once your free trial ends. It’s not an unreasonable expense for most small businesses, however. And it’s a fraction of what having a corporate attorney on retainer would cost. One note to mention: not all of LegalShield’s small business legal services are available in every state or province.  You’d have to contact support to find out what’s available where you live.

The Basics of LLC Formation

After completing the signup process with LegalShield, you’re assigned an attorney licensed to operate in your state. That attorney is then tasked with registering your LLC. They’ll do business name research, file your paperwork with the Secretary of State, and draft your Articles of Organization. Once your business is registered, they’ll then file with the IRS for your Employer Identification Number (EIN)

With LegalShield’s network of local attorneys, however, there’s no way the company can offer a set filing time, as most LLC formation services do. Each attorney’s workload determines how quickly your paperwork is filed with your state. According to the support agent I spoke to, the best LegalShield can do is guarantee that your information is sent to your attorney within 24 hours of your order.

Registered Agent Service for a Yearly Subscription

Every LLC is required to have a Registered Agent. LegalShield has a network of Registered Agents covering all 50 states. For an add-on yearly subscription, you can hire LegalShield to act as your LLC’s Registered Agent.

It’s true, you can act as your own Registered Agent as long as you reside in the state in which you register your LLC. It’s also true that many of LegalShield’s top competitors include Registered Agent services, at least for the first year, in the price of their plans. Nevertheless, the fee for LegalShield’s Registered Agent services is reasonable and affordable for most small businesses.

A Very Nice Mobile App

Business doesn’t come to a standstill just because you leave the office, and LegalShield understands that. It provides all its members access to both an online desktop dashboard and a mobile app.

LegalShield's member mobile app
LegalShield provides members with a mobile app to access your account from anywhere, anytime

From the app, you can access all your documents and even create new ones. You can also contact your attorney with a simple touch of a finger. LegalShield’s competitors seldom offer mobile apps, and some don’t even have a mobile-friendly online dashboard. LegalShield’s app gives you the means to manage your business’s legal matters from anywhere, anytime.

It’s What’s Missing That Makes the Difference

What I found with Launch by LegalShield, is that while it offers some nice features like “local” legal services, it really can’t compete with some of its top competitors who offer a lot more for less.

The features you get with LegalShield are good. You just don’t get enough features for the program’s price. And what you don’t get might be the difference between choosing its services and looking elsewhere.

3.8

Ease of use

Read All the Print, Not Just the Fine Stuff, and Don’t Expect Anything Done Quickly

To sign up for Launch by LegalShield, you have to be a careful reader of the LegalShield website. You won’t easily find prices or feature descriptions on most pages, so due diligence is key. Be prepared for a different approach than what other LLC formation services use, too, or you’ll be left confused and disconcerted.

Getting Started With LegalShield

LegalShield's drop-down Start a Business menu
When signing up for Launch by LegalShield, visitors should read everything in the right order.

Signing up with LegalShield is easy, but it’s a bit unsettling. First off, when you open the Start a Business menu, please take care to read everything in the left-hand column in order from the top down. Things will go more smoothly if you do.

The price of the Launch by LegalShield program is hard to find on all but one page: the Start a Business Overview page. On that page, it’s right there at the top. With all the rest, you have to work to find it. On the How Our Program Works and Forming an LLC pages, it’s in the fifth section (not paragraph, but section) of text down the page. On the rest, it’s all the way down at the bottom of the page. Don’t scroll down far enough, and you’ll miss it altogether.

Don’t Expect a Straightforward Sign-up Process With LegalShield

We’ve researched quite a few LLC formation services here at Website Planet, and while I can’t speak for all of them, the majority I’ve had the pleasure to evaluate have a similar signup process. LegalShield has thrown this out the window.

Where the others begin with asking you about the state in which you wish to register, LegalShield goes straight to a checkout popup window. This means, if you haven’t read all the pages, or if you haven’t scrolled and scrolled and scrolled, you’re left wondering how much you’re going to have to pay.

Once you figure that out, or are simply brave enough to forge ahead regardless, you come across something else that I found surprising. You’ll be asked for your birthdate and the last four digits of your Social Security number. Now I don’t know about you, but I’m not comfortable giving that info out to just anyone, especially if I’m not familiar with the company.

I Have to Pay What for What? How Often?

LegalShield's monthly subscription agreement prior to purchase
LegalShield expects you to have read enough to know what that recurring charge is for

Make it all the way through to the end of the signup process, and once again, if you haven’t read everything or at least enough of the other pages, you’ll be facing another confusing issue. On the payment page, you have to agree to the monthly recurring subscription fee for LegalShield’s legal services. Hurried readers will be left scratching their heads wondering what’s up.

Personal Attention That Impedes the Process

Successfully completing the signup process is only the start of your LLC formation journey. LegalShield assigns your account to one of its attorneys in your state within 24 hours. You then have to schedule a phone consultation with them. Only after that consultation call do they start working on your formation paperwork. The best you can hope for is that your personal LegalShield attorney isn’t so busy that your LLC formation ends up delayed.

Perhaps, being lawyers, there’s a certain expectation that everyone will read through everything before signing on to anything. And perhaps LegalShield expects you to understand the value and time involved in a real live legal consultation before undertaking starting a business. For me, however, LegalShield didn’t quite live up to the ease, user-friendliness, and speed I’ve come to expect from an LLC formation service.

4.2

Pricing

Budget-Friendly, but Watch the Add-ons

LegalShield only offers a single LLC formation plan. You get the basic formation features I mentioned above for a one-time fee minus your state and local fees – and for a reasonable, affordable price, even for side-hustlers.

Where you have to be careful with LegalShield is in the add-ons. There’s the monthly subscription to the legal services you have to agree to in order to purchase the formation plan. Then there’s the yearly fee for a Registered Agent, which each LLC is required to have. (You can act as your own Registered Agent in many states, provided you reside there. It’s not always advisable, however.)

You also have to consider if those basic LLC formation services plus the monthly legal services subscription are enough. Do they fit the needs of your business? Do you need more? Once again, what’s missing may make the difference. Many other services offer more – for less per month or included in their one-time fees – than LegalShield.

LegalShield offers a supplemental service called Business Plus, which offers tools and consulting to help you manage your business. While it could add some value depending on your experience, it’s an additional monthly subscription. For the new LLC owner on a tight budget, these add-ons could really add up.

All in all, LegalShield’s prices are comparable to other top providers. As with any important expense, I’d suggest you determine what your business needs are, then how much you have to spend to fulfill those needs. This will allow you to figure out whether LegalShield is a good match for your company.

3.8

Support

Available, but Not Always Convenient and Knowledgeable

LegalShield offers support via phone, email, and a live online chat. I tried all three and was really only impressed with the chat support agent. The email support delivered inaccurate information, and the phone service, well, that’s a story in itself.

Go to LegalShield’s Contact Us page, and you’ll find six different support phone numbers and four email addresses. Dial the wrong number, and you’ll either have a very long wait time to be transferred to the right department, or you’ll simply be asked to dial the “correct” one.

The info listed for Launch by LegalShield is for paying members only. I was a potential member and had to use the sales or “join us” contacts, instead. My agent, when I was finally in contact with the right one, was polite and helpful, but it was a five-minute run-around getting to speak to her.

LegalShield Member Services' support email response with wrong answer
My email support response from LegalShield was inaccurate in its answer about Registered Agents

I tried email, as LegalShield’s phone support isn’t available evenings or weekends, with worse results. I try to use questions I know the answers to so I can accurately rate the quality of the support I receive. The answer to my question regarding Registered Agent services was wrong. LegalShield does offer the service for an additional yearly fee. Furthermore, it took 35 hours and 24 minutes to receive this incorrect reply.

Oh, and I noticed another phone number – one not on the contact page – was included in the email. I didn’t try it, but it did make me wonder just how many different support lines one company needs.

helpful online chat conversation with LegalShield's support team
Caption: LegalShield’s online chat support salvaged my declining opinion of its support systems

The online chat support was like saving the best for last, however. My agent was not only prompt, coming online within two minutes of my logging in, but was courteous, friendly, and very helpful. My advice: If you need to contact LegalShield, try the chat first.

Comparison

How does LegalShield match up to the competition?

Tailor Brands LLCCompareOur Score4.8Compare
ZenBusinessCompareOur Score4.8Compare
LegalShieldCompareOur Score4.0Compare
InCorpCompareOur Score3.0Compare

LegalShield REVIEW: BOTTOM LINE

Capable Doesn’t Mean Optimal

I said at the beginning that LegalShield was a viable option for the right business. And yes, it’s capable of performing LLC formation services for sole proprietors. But being capable doesn’t mean it’s the best choice.

Again, it’s what LegalShield doesn’t do that makes all the difference. It doesn’t offer up the most user-friendly website or the most helpful support. It doesn’t include some of the most popular services or features in its LLC formation package. And it doesn’t give you a way out of paying a monthly subscription or making a phone consultation for legal services many LLC owners don’t need.

You just might be better off going with ZenBusiness’s Pro or Premium packages. They both include speedier filing times as well as consultations that you can schedule on your time. The table below sums up the pros and cons of LegalShield for you, so you can make the best choice for your LLC.
Pros Cons
  • Personal, local attorney in your state
  • Includes EIN
  • Business name research
  • Mobile app to access account
  • Monthly subscription for legal services required
  • Poor-quality email and phone support

FAQ

What should I consider when choosing an LLC formation service?

When choosing an LLC formation service, consider factors such as cost, reputation, customer support, additional features or services offered, turnaround time, and user-friendly online platforms. It’s essential to find a service that aligns with your specific needs and preferences. For example, LegalShield is best for single-member LLC registrants.

Can I form an LLC on my own without using a formation service?

Yes, you can form an LLC on your own without using a formation service. However, the process can be time-consuming and complicated, particularly if you’re unfamiliar with the legal requirements and paperwork involved. An LLC formation service such as LegalShield streamlines the process and ensures accuracy.

Why would I need an LLC formation service?

An LLC formation service can be beneficial if you want professional assistance in forming your LLC quickly and accurately. LegalShield can help you navigate the legal requirements, provide personalized guidance, and handle the paperwork on your behalf.

How do I get started with an LLC formation service?

To get started with an LLC formation service, you typically need to choose a service provider, select a package that suits your needs, provide the necessary information about your LLC, and make the required payment. The service will then guide you through the process and handle the necessary paperwork to form your LLC. See our top ten choices for the best LLC services if LegalShield isn’t the right provider for you.
Suzanne Stewart Suzanne Stewart
Suzanne has been a freelance writer and editor for 31 years, and has been writing online content since 2008. She holds professional certifications in editing and SEO strategy. She’s often been in the same desk chair as our Website Planet readers, needing to know what’s best and what’s best avoided. When she’s not testing and reviewing vendors, Suz is a professional artist as well as a volunteer therapy musician, playing the Celtic lap harp. She is a nature-lover who is often found walking the hiking trails near her home. She also enjoys time with her family, her grandchildren, and two cats.
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Complete LLC filling starting at $0 + state fees