Legal Shield Review: Legitimate or a Scam?
Having trouble with a legal issue? Don’t want to research law firms by you for hours, calling each one for quotes on pricing to resolve specific legal issues? Well, if either of these is true, there is a program that is here to save the day. Legal Shield is a pre-paid company that has law firms working for them to help resolve your issues, without you having to go out and hire a personal lawyer on your own.
About Legal Shield
Legal Shield has been around for decades. It is American multi-level-marketing cooperation that operates within the United States and a few Canadian providences. They were initially started in 1972 under the name the Sportsman’s Motor Club. This name was then changed in 1976 to Pre-Paid Legal Services Inc. It wasn’t until 2011 that they became LegalShield after they were acquired by MidOcean Partners for $650 million. MidOcean is an American private equity firm that specializes in leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations, and growth capital investments, which makes sense that they would buy out a mid-size pre-paid legal firm.
What Does Legal Shield Do?
LegalShield develops and markets pre-paid legal services to people across the US and Canada. They have a network of just over 7000 independent provider attorneys that are paid for by the website, to help people with legal issues. Since Legal Shield is not a law firm, they hire law firms to help people resolve legal issues they have. They will put you in contact with a nearby law firm, and there will be a lawyer that specializes in the specific legal question someone is seeking help for.
They currently hold an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, even though there have been some complaints. There have been around 150 complaints, ranging from bad customer service, complicated procedure problems, and high hidden fees. This is always a positive because it means that they are following the code of ethics for online businesses, and not scamming anyone.
How It Works:
Legal Shields primary goal is to help the everyday person receive legal help for any issues that arise in their life. In addition to individual people, they also work with small-medium sized businesses to provide legal expertise. They charge one flat rate per month for a subscription to the service, which allows you to contact lawyers that work through LegalShield for help on any issues. There are five different kinds of personal plans; Consultation, Document Preparation, Auto, Family Matters, and IRS. If you are experiencing a legal issue in any of these fields, you will be able to find a lawyer.
How To Sign Up:
There is a six-step process to signing up for Legal Shield.
- Explain the legal problem to a providing law firm, who will, in turn, assign you the lawyer in-house that will assist you best.
- After the request and providing of information, you will receive a call within 8 hours from an attorney at the firm that has been assigned your case.
Is It Safe?
Of course. Since Legal Shield is not a law firm, they do not have all the information about your case. They simply put you in contact with one of their providers. Once you are in contact with a law firm, and the lawyers of that firm, your information falls under Lawyer-client confidentiality. Of course, if you have a success story, you are more than welcome to share it with LegalShield, as some people have, to be featured on their site. This helps brings in people and show potential members that LegalShield is helpful.
There are however some complaints about the process. For one, people have complained that it takes forever to get through to providers because they are busy with private business. Another common complaint is that if you miss that call from an attorney, you will have to recall the firm and do the whole process over again.
Personal plans start at $19.95 per month and give you access to the site, and the tools to contact providers. However, since there have been complaints about hidden fees, I must address this. Yes, LegalShield claims to be a pre-paid legal help website, however, once you are put into contact with an attorney, you are no longer affiliated with Legal Shield. Although it is cheap to join legal shield, work is not free. The attorneys are going to need to be paid for their time when helping you out. Because of this, and how LegalShield says on their site that it is only $19.95 a month, people are upset when they get their bill from the attorney, and it is much higher.
Legal Shield has providers that are very credible. All of the law firms that they work with are legit, and practicing firms with lawyers who are experts in the fields. However, you are getting what you pay for. If a lawyer is working through LegalShield, there is a little less of an incentive to go above and beyond that if he was being hired privately to investigate and solve a case. Keep that in mind when deciding how to hire an attorney.
When it is all said and done, it is up to you to decide the specific plan of action you want to take with your case. If it is a smaller case, LegalShield is a great resource. Their providers are approved lawyer and firms that will be able to handle your case. However, I say small case because those are usually cheaper, and have fewer loopholes to jump through. If you are up against a big case, I may look at other options before choosing Legal Shield.
When making a purchase or commitment anywhere, it is essential to do your research. This is the same when it comes to legal help. For larger cases, it does not hurt to have consultations with lawyers to find the best one to handle your case. Of course, if you go through LegalShield, nothing is final until you and the attorney agree to work together, so it doesn’t hurt to look around. You are not handcuffed once you are put into contact with an attorney.
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Many times expert legal advice is needed in life. For smaller cases, LegalShield is a great resource and can offer you a cost-efficient service. We recommend that you evaluate each situation separately and use the best judgment when it comes to legal issues.