Jacoby & Meyers Enters Online Forms Business
Jacoby & Meyers, a national law firm known for its TV ads, has announced that it is going into the online legal forms business. J&M has struck a deal with USLegal Forms and will have access to thousands of forms, offering a do-it-yourself option, an attorney consultation option and a full service lawyer/client option. As a business that is fully lawyer-owned, J&M can offer legal advice in a way that other companies that are non-lawyer owned cannot.
In a move that is sure to make a few companies uncomfortable, J&M is looking to expand its operations and take back the low end of the legal market, made up of consumers and small businesses looking for a simple product that will help them accomplish a legal task with little or no help from an attorney. Attorneys have been under considerable pressure from the proliferation of cheaper, non-lawyer alternatives to services that lawyers have traditionally offered. Companies like LegalZoom, Rocket Lawyer and Nolo have created successful businesses around legal books, software and forms that cater to consumers and businesses that either can’t or are unwilling to pay more for an attorney to draft a legal document.
In a 2011 Consumer Reports test, estate planning documents drafted using LegalZoom, Rocket Lawyer and Quicken products were compared to each other and reviewed by a law professor specializing in estate planning to see if consumers were getting their money’s worth. The short answer is that each of these documents had legal problems that could have been caught with a review by an attorney. J&M no doubt hopes to distinguish itself from its competitors by offering that type of service to consumers.