Following a similar suit in Missouri, the DeKalb County Bar Association has sued LegalZoom.com for the unauthorized practice of law.
The DeKalb County Bar Association said today it has filed a lawsuit that asks a judge to bar the online forms company LegalZoom.com from doing business in Alabama, saying the Los Angeles-based firm is engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.
The suit filed in DeKalb County Circuit Court requests that LegalZoom be permanently prohibited from creating legal documents and related services for Alabama residents.
Fort Payne attorney Daniel Campbell, president of county’s bar association, said in a statement that LegalZoom’s offering of standard legal forms such as wills and incorporation papers that are then customized to the buyer’s preference has been prohibited by Alabama law for many years.
“Alabama’s unauthorized practice of law statutes prohibit anyone who is not a lawyer from advising or counseling another person on legal matters, and from preparing or assisting another person in preparing any document or instrument such as a will or deed in Alabama,” the bar association said in a statement.
The last gasp of a dying industry–try to shut down the competition through occupational licensing laws written by its own members for captured legislatures.
As I noted earlier:
I initially used LegalZoom.com to incorporate the Harlan Institute in Pennsylvania. I found their services exemplary. In fact, I originally wanted to call it the Harlan Institute for Constitutional Studies, but one of the Legal Zoom employees tipped me off that in Pennsylvania, if you put the word “studies” in the name, you needed approval from the State Department of Education (which they never gave). That is the type of thing I thought an online service would miss, and I would need a lawyer to know the ins and outs of local law. I eventually reincorporated with a Pro Bono Law Firm (that we could never have actually afforded) in the District of Columbia for some other reasons, but I would highly recommend LegalZoom.com for people looking for high quality level services at a great price.
Stay tuned. Lawyers will soon get desperate, and I predict they will eventually lose.