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Legal Document Services Fail the Test

If you read the fine print, virtually all online "legal document services" contain disclaimers that include information such as "XYZ's  Legal Document Service is not a law firm and is not a substitute for an attorney or law firm." They have to. They are not offering lawyer services. They cannot offer lawyer services. They are not lawyers.

Some of them try to mislead the public into believing that they are lawyers providing legal advice by making claims such as "our documents are drafted by real lawyers" or "this service was developed by real lawyers" however, this is akin to an illegal online pharmacies claiming that their drugs are manufactured by real pharmaceutical companies. So what? The reality is that before you use a document drafted by a person (lawyer or otherwise) that has never seen your website, never discussed your business with you, never inquired about your plans for the future, never bothered to identify other legal issues that you might face and cannot be reached for questions or issues that arise later you should, at a minimum, think twice.

Top 5 Reasons to Consult an Internet Lawyer
for your Website
______________________

 1. Proper Terms of Service
 2. Privacy Policy and Practices 
 3. Trademark & Copyright
 4. Contract Review and Drafting
 5. Business Formation 

 

Documents drafted for a mass audience will inherently contain aspects inapplicable to any particular company. By relying upon form documents as a business owner you are leaving yourself open to exposure that you never even see coming. Furthermore, the documents themselves can get you into hot water. For example, if you use a form privacy policy that has not been drafted for your specific company and your specific data usage you are very possibly breaking the law. Furthermore, there are attorneys out there (real ones - albeit arguably less than ethical) that scour the Internet looking for minor violations of law but sufficient enough to support a settlement demand or class action lawsuit. If you have "opted out" of securing real legal advice  in favor of a "document service" you are leaving yourself wide open to falling victim to one of these claims.

John Dozier of Dozier Internet Law has said that document services are just fine for companies that never plan on making any money. His point is that when your business becomes successful, the likelihood of any claim against you increases substantially. Jeffrey Cohen of InternetLitigators said "I have handled several cases where clients come to me after having started out with a user agreement which they either put together themselves or bought online from a document service. In almost all instances, the claims could have been easily avoided if they had sought appropriate legal advice in the beginning". "It would have cost them a lot less too" he added.

Consulting with an experienced Internet business lawyer not only will ensure that your website has appropriate disclaimers and policies but it is the only way to ensure that your business practices are in check with Federal and Local law and may well help you to identify and eliminate legal issues that you did not even realize that you had before they become significant problems.

 

 

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