Since 2008, Rocket Lawyer has been helping individuals and small businesses complete and file legal documents and work with licensed attorneys to answer legal questions. One of their most popular options is business incorporation.
Rocket Lawyer Features
Free “OnCall Attorneys”: When you sign up for a Premium or Accelerated subscription to Rocket Lawyer, you get a few free lawyer services, like the ability to e-mail questions and receive a response within 48 hours. You also get free 30 minute consultations with a lawyer to help answer moderately complicated questions and review the documents Rocket Lawyer has helped you draft.
40% Discount on Lawyers: Once you’re a member, you have access to all of the attorneys listed with Rocket Lawyer. As part of their listing, they guarantee a 40% discount for additional services provide above and beyond the simple “On Call” consultation. You can establish a lifelong partnership with this attorney for substantially less by finding them through Rocket Lawyer.
Registered Agent: For $129 per year, you can confirm Rocket Lawyer as your registered agent. This means they will automatically renew your company’s paperwork every year to keep everything updated and legally sound.
Free Legal Resources: Rocket Lawyer’s website offers an array of additional resources. The legal dictionary is helpful if you’re looking to double check your understanding of simple contracts. The Legal Help articles give you a quick rundown of common questions, such as the difference between a living will and an estate plan. The Legal Guides walk you through the steps needed to start a business or what to expect when working with an attorney.
Rocket Lawyer Pricing
The Good On Rocket Lawyer
Easier, Faster and Cheaper
This is Rocket Lawyer’s major appeal. They make legal documentation easier and faster by allowing a “fill in the blank” approach in which you answer simplified questions. Of course, this is also cheaper than hiring an attorney who may charge hundreds per hour.
Very Easy to Navigate
The website itself is simple and easy to use. If you know what type of document you’re looking for, the menus help you narrow down the options to the exact item you need. Start with the “Personal” or “Business” tabs at the top of the homepage.
Not sure what document you need? With a Rocket Lawyer subscription (including the free trial), you can get help within minutes through chat or by phone.
As part of your subscription, you can have a lawyer review your document to ensure it covers your needs. Any revisions you need are free and unlimited.
Documents for All 50 States
One of the primary problems with the first online legal resources was the lack of state differentiation. There was only one document that was supposed to be broad enough to cover every state law. Rocket Lawyer has provided the legal security of allowing you to choose your state, which automatically updates the document to conform to current state law. Unfortunately, though, the research behind these changes is not always fail-proof.
If you’re not yet subscribed to Rocket Lawyer, try this tip. Fill out your document until the progress bar is at 100%. From there, you will be given the option to sign up for a membership (through a free trial). Before you sign up, check to see if there’s a “One Time Payment” option. On some documents, you can pay $1 to have access to a printable version of the document. Other documents are completely free. You get everything you need without being roped into a monthly fee; however, you won’t have access to a lawyer to review your document.
The Bad On Rocket Lawyer
In general, Rocket Lawyer’s approach values simplicity over complexity. The fill-in-the-blank documents make it difficult, if not impossible, to customize your paperwork for non-standard situations.
Although the contracts are edited to fit each state’s laws, jurisdictions within each state may have further laws, rules or regulations. These will be easy to completely miss if you rely entirely on the self-service process, so it’s usually worth checking in with a local attorney using the 40% discount.
More Costly than Competitors
Rocket Lawyer has a few major competitors, namely LegalZoom and Bizfilings. While these two offer different services, there is a lot of overlap. Of the three, Rocket Lawyer has the highest subscription fee, but it is also the only one to offer limited e-mail and phone support with a licensed attorney.
Bait & Switch?
When people see “free,” they rush to get their legal document started. However, you’ll find at the end you are asked for your credit card information. This is for the “free trial.” If you continue, you’ve actually agreed to be charged the monthly fee for 12 months starting in 30 days. Just be aware of the fine print, and if it suits your needs, choose the $1 fee to download the document without a membership plan.
Difficult to Cancel
One of the selling points for Rocket Lawyer is their “Cancel anytime” policy. This make the free trial seem like a great deal. You think you’ll just get what you need and cancel before the membership fees kick in. But it’s not always that easy. Although you should be able to cancel from your account profile—it will actually be called an “account downgrade”—it can be buggy. You may have to call the 800 number, wait through menus and hope the customer service rep is able to help.
No Consistent Lawyer
When you use Rocket Lawyer’s “On Demand” feature to ask for help with your documents or your general legal situation, you probably won’t get the same lawyer every time. This makes it hard to establish the kind of rapport and familiarity with the case you have with a typical lawyer-client relationship. The one exception is with the 40% off services, which should allow you to work with one lawyer consistently.
This is especially the case if you’re establishing a business. Rocket Lawyer will continue to ask if you want to add on other documents or packages. The way it’s framed, it’s hard for the average user to discern whether or not they truly need these add-ons to have a legally legitimate company.
Value for Your Needs
If you only need one or a few documents per year, you probably don’t need a membership. Many consumers, especially new start-up owners, fall in a gray where it’s difficult to guess how much legal paperwork they’ll need in a given year. If you have a membership but don’t use it much, you’re obviously better off spending your money for other kinds of legal services.
Questionable Quality & No Guarantees
It’s easy to question Rocket Lawyer quality since the concept of online legal services is relatively new. The real problem is that you won’t know how solid your contracts and other documents are until they’re put to the test, usually during a contentious disagreement that could end up in court.
Some lawyers have commented on this lack of quality consisting of vague, unclear or inconsistent language that provides enough of a loophole to cause major problems. Furthermore, with a conventional client-lawyer relationship, you have someone to hold accountable. With Rocket Lawyer, they offer a worrying answer in their FAQ regarding their guarantee:
“Do you guarantee your documents?
“You get free access to all of Rocket Lawyer’s documents and legal Q&A. This means you can ask a lawyer all the questions you want, create as many contracts and forms as you’d like, and sign and store documents online.”
In short, Rocket Lawyer offers no guarantee that your documents are legally sound. If you find out the hard way that your documents weren’t ironclad, it’s just tough luck for you.
With some documents, Rocket Lawyer will file your paperwork as needed. With others, you’re on your own. You have to know whether or not Rocket Lawyer is doing this to avoid missed or duplicate filing. You also must make sure you know with whom you are supposed to file, whether a state agency, federal department, the IRS, or other government office.
Our Verdict On Rocket Lawyer
Rocket Lawyer can be a great option for simple legal help, like a typical apartment lease or simple small business incorporation. However, a moderately complex situation—even despite the addition of lawyer consultation—makes Rocket Lawyer a risk.
If you suspect you’ll need ongoing legal services, Rocket Lawyer can be a good deal. Use the 40% discount with their affiliated attorneys to find someone close to you so they’re familiar with local laws and regulations.
Avoid Rocket Lawyer for documents like wills, which cause a significant amount of trouble if they’re not done correctly.