In an Assurance of Discontinuation, the online legal services company must not state in advertising to the public that its services are less expensive than those of a law firm without also explaining that its services are not a substitute for an attorney. With the far-reaching and well-funded advertising campaigns of the company, it is easy to see how the message may be misleading to members of the public, many of whom may have never retained the services of a licensed attorney and who may only have the price points and t.v. ads with which to make a judgement.
One of the statements in Assurance of Discontinuation pertains to the unauthorized practice of law in the state of Washington – a claim we have seen issued against the company in N.C. and Missouri. While LegalZoom does not admit to UPL in this document, it does agree not to engage in UPL with regards to providing personalized legal guidance that is state-specific within the legal self-help forms.
Other concerns that myself and others have brought up in the past related to the practices of online legal service companies are also covered in the agreement. It will be interesting to see if other state attorney generals will take notice of this and implement similar actions.
Here is the Assurance of Discontinuation: