The Risks of DIY Legal Services For Your Business

Business owners have a natural inclination to bootstrap their way through everything. Running a successful business requires expert-level multi-tasking and management skills. If you’re already running day-to-day operations, handling finances, and managing employees, it doesn’t seem like a huge leap to tackle your business’ legal matters on your own. The rise of do-it-yourself (DIY) legal services has made the prospect even more appealing. It seems straightforward enough. You pay for exactly what you need, whenever you need it. It’s hard to beat convenience when your time is so valuable. However, there’s a reason law firms exist, and in reality, not utilizing professional legal services could wind up harming your business.

What Is a DIY Legal Service?

There are many websites that offer the “flexibility” of DIY legal services for those who go looking. Whether you need to create a simple contract or new entity formation, there seems to be no end to what an individual can do online. Some services are simply a platform to file your legal documents in a quick and convenient manner, and some offer review services, but let you do the heavy lifting in terms of drafting the documents yourself. They’re gaining popularity because the fees appear to show the upfront costs of individual services, which makes them seem more accessible to people who are unfamiliar with the costs associated with professional legal services. 

What’s The Catch?

The most obvious reason to avoid DIY legal services is that there is a lot of room for error. Even in situations where the documents are reviewed, it’s not always clear who is responsible for reviewing those documents, and what sort of professional responsibility they have toward you should something go awry. By attempting to take on essential legal tasks for your business without the appropriate expertise, you run the risk of not only making mistakes, but missing important documents or clauses. A single oversight can lead to costly disputes, litigation, or in some cases, fines for non-compliance.

Even if the DIY services seem very reasonably priced at first, there are also hidden expenses that go beyond what’s on their website. The service could just provide a very generic boilerplate template that does not take your business’s unique needs and goals into account. After the initial investment, you could find yourself spending all that and more on redrafting legal documents or paying for disputes that could have been easily avoided with the right guidance.

Attorneys Do More Than Draft Documents

One of the worst things about the world of DIY legal services is that they falsely imply that professional legal services can be replicated for every individual’s needs. It may be convenient to select a few options and have a legal document waiting for you at the end, but there is a key missing component that can make or break the success of your business. The human element. 

An attorney’s job is to look out for your best interests. Attorney fees can indeed become expensive depending on the circumstance, but that’s because of the hours of work that goes into providing legal services that are catered specifically to you. You can also develop a relationship with your attorney, whether you need basic contracts here and there, or you want regular general counsel services from someone who can answer your important questions based on a deep understanding of your specific business. Someone who knows your personal circumstances can also provide you with valuable insight on potential savings and make suggestions on ways to protect you from liability before problems arise. They also can stay on top of changes in the law and use their experiences in the courtroom and with previous cases to provide you with wise guidance that can’t be provided by automated onlines services.

Your business is not boilerplate, so why would you treat your legal needs as such? Personalized advice and expertise from a professional attorney means securing the right answers for your specific situation and preventing problems before they occur. For a free consultation to discuss your business’s legal needs, reach out to our firm at (925) 399-1529 (1LAW).

Integrated General Counsel
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