If you have ever hired an attorney before, you already know what happens after the initial free consultation meeting ends. The next step is to either hire the attorney by paying an hourly rate or to secure the attorney’s services by paying a fee called a retainer. The retainer fee amount represents a certain number of hours that the attorney estimates will be used toward your case. Regardless of which path you choose, hiring an attorney can quickly become pricey. However, in certain situations there is a way around having to pay those high fees. For instance, if you are hiring a lawyer to help you draft commonly used legal forms, using an online forms service can work just as well. Here, learn five reasons to use online legal forms rather than hiring an attorney.
Online Legal Forms Explained
Online legal forms are a new way to access attorney-vetted legal forms that you can then tailor to your own legal needs. The forms themselves are standardized for different uses such as bankruptcy, starting a business or non-profit entity, filing for divorce or custody, establishing power of attorney and other common legal tasks. You can search through a legal online documents provider to find the exact form(s) you need. Once you locate the forms you need, you can download those forms and customize each one by adding in your personal information and other details at certain places on each form. You pay a flat fee per form, which is substantially lower than what you would pay for even one hour of an attorney’s time.
5 Reasons to Use Online Legal Forms
Using online legal forms in place of an attorney’s services is increasingly common and popular for these five reasons and more.
- Cost savings. The number one reason people choose online forms over hiring an attorney is cost savings. Even an attorney fresh out of law school can charge hundreds per hour for counsel, and it typically takes several hours to draft a form from scratch and customize it. Contrast that with paying one set price for just the legal form you need — the same legal form that a high-priced attorney would likely have used as a template to create your form. If you need more than one form, the cost savings from using online legal forms becomes even easier to calculate.
- Ease of use. Online forms are easy to use. Each form comes with execution instructions and is written in plain language so the meaning is clear.
- Access to legal help. Reputable online legal forms services also offer a helpline via phone or email so you can get extra help and support when you are using their forms. This help is included in the price you pay when you order your forms, so you are getting the forms and guidance all for one low set price.
- Fast and flexible. Unless you already have an attorney on call, it can be time consuming and cumbersome to research attorneys, interview your top choices, attend consultations and then hire an attorney and work with him/her to create the forms you need. With online legal forms, you just log in, click on the forms you need, download the forms and instructions and customize the information as needed. You can have a form completed and ready to use quickly, even in an emergency situation.
- Covers most needs. Online legal forms are standard documents that can be used for common legal needs, whether business or personal. Because of this, it is rare to find a situation where you need a legal form drafted for you from scratch. You can customize the online legal forms you select as lightly or heavily as you need to without impacting the integrity of each form.
When you use online legal forms, you realize cost savings and obtain the forms you need quickly. If you are using an online legal forms service for the first time, you will be guided through the process of selecting, reviewing, purchasing and using your forms from start to finish. Once you see how easy and cost-effective the process is, you will want to use online legal forms for all your legal needs in the future.
About the Author: Karie Howe clerks for a law firm in Melbourne. She is in charge of drafting and proofing legal forms for the firm. However, she uses online legal forms to save money on legal costs for her family.