If you’re telling people that you're a lawyer and you're not, then you should be punished, go to jail, no questions asked. The problem is that there are some, including the Virginia State Bar, who believe that the service that LegalZoom provides is the unauthorized practice of law. You probably have seen them. It’s one of those sites where you can go and fill in information and they will create a form for you. You can sell your car, you can do a name change, in some cases you can do a will, sell your house and things like that. Look, LegalZoom is not the right solution for everybody but it is a right solution for a lot of people. They are a big company. They do a lot of transactions.

They have big TV and radio advertisers, and all across their site, they say “We’re not a law firm. We’re not providing legal services and what we provide is not a substitute for good legal advice.”

The problem is that rule makers think they know better than consumers. Rule makers often view consumers as dumb as rocks and unable to think for themselves, and it’s simply insulting to the average consumer for a rule maker to say you shouldn’t have access to these affordable forms. Apparently in the general assembly, some have proposed an amendment to the unauthorized practice of law statute which would exempt websites, CD-ROMs, things like these. And according to this article in Lawyers Weekly Virginia, The Virginia State Bar Standing Committee on the unauthorized practice law unanimously opposed the amendment. That’s crazy. What this is is lawyer protectionism for lawyers.

You see, lawyers who get paid to create these forms go kicking and screaming sometimes to the rule makers because they’re saying that they can't compete with a $35 internet form. Those lawyers need to know how to compete. But it’s insulting to say to a consumer that look, you don’t have the right to make your own decision as to whether or not to use a form from LegalZoom or heck, go to a library, go to a law library. They’re filled with books filled with forms. This is silly. This is anti-consumer. Indeed, it’s anti-American. We’re going to put the phone number for the Virginia State Bar.

You can call them and express your displeasure if you agree with me. You can call your local delegate, express your displeasure if you agree with me. And whether or not you agree or disagree, there's a form below this video that you can fill out. I’d love to hear from you about this subject. Please, if you're a consumer, don’t let this type of law get passed without understanding what's going on, because it does affect your ability to get affordable information off the internet and that’s where everything is, on the internet.

For more legal advice, click on this link to download a FREE copy of Ben's book, The Five Deadly Sins That Can Wreck Your Injury Claim.

Ben Glass
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Ben Glass is a nationally recognized Virginia injury, medical malpractice, and long-term disability attorney