Do you know what the legal template landscape looked like before Legal Zoom and the big shift to online business came along? I do, and the situation has improved drastically just in the last few years. But does that necessarily mean that using templates over lawyers is the way to go for your small business?
In today’s episode, we’re going to dive into one of my favorite topics when it comes to legal: should you try to do it yourself with templates or hire a lawyer? This is a topic very near and dear to my heart, and it shows through my work. I have a law firm, Liss Legal, where I provide done-for-you legal services. In addition, this podcast is brought to you by my second business, Businessese, which is a legal template shop focused on the needs of online and service-based business owners.
Since each of my businesses has a different option related to this question, it’s a question I hear a lot. There are times when I’d strongly recommend you seek the assistance of a lawyer. But other times, you may want to go in the do-it-yourself (DIY) direction.
To help you decide, I’ll discuss the differences between done-for-you legal services and DIY legal templates. You’ll also hear considerations to think about before choosing the template route, with examples (including from my own business) throughout. By the end of this episode, you’ll know when to use a lawyer and the actions steps to take to help you choose between the two options.
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In this episode:
[01:32] – Should you plan to use a template or directly hire a lawyer? Before answering, Danielle gives a quick disclaimer.
[02:10] – Danielle goes over done-for-you legal services just in case you haven’t worked with a lawyer before.
[02:55] – For many years, legal templates were available but not always great. Danielle describes what it looked like before the big business online shift happened.
[03:31] – What was one of the driving forces behind the creation of Businessese?
[04:28] – Here’s the most important factor you should consider before using templates. Danielle uses templates she created for her business as examples.
[05:40] – What is the state of your business currently, and what’s your budget? For example, if you’re just starting out, then templates may be more budget-friendly.
[06:10] – The type of business you have can also determine whether you should use templates or hire a lawyer. Danielle reviews the kinds of businesses that’ll benefit from each.
[06:45] – Some areas of business are more easily handled with a template. The most popular product (by far) on Danielle’s website is an excellent example of this in action.
[07:15] – Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and likeness releases are also great options for templates.
[07:36] – It might also make sense to use a template for certain contracts. For service-based business owners, however, Danielle gives a big caveat.
[08:49] – Here’s a definite sign that a template may not be the best fit. Talk to a lawyer instead.
[09:03] – You can use a lawyer for your business before starting, early in the formation process, as it grows, when you want to shut it down, and every stage in between.
[09:45] – When should you talk to a lawyer instead of opting for a template? Danielle rapidly lays out quite a few scenarios.
[11:23] – Danielle gives four action steps to help you decide between choosing a legal template or a lawyer.