How LegalZoom Provides Businesses With Affordable Legal Assistance
When you are running a business, it can be a challenge to handle some of the nitty gritty details such as filing trademarks and handling copyright protections. LegalZoom simplifies those processes by providing legal help and services for only $300 per year, depending on your legal plan.
By providing substantial value at a low cost, LegalZoom CEO John Suh told me that nearly 4 million small businesses and families have trusted the company since it launched in 1999. And LegalZoom is the largest former of small businesses, the largest filer of trademarks at 250,000+ and the company’s network of independent attorneys can provide advice in all 50 states. Plus LegalZoom owns a law firm in the U.K. with over 200 employees.
Suh said that LegalZoom was founded on the principle that access to quality legal help is a basic fundamental right. Suh told me that the majority of Americans “have a doctor they can turn to when life throws them a curve ball.” However, only the top 5% of small business owners or families have a law firm that they can reach out to at a moment’s notice. “We believe in a world where everyone has a trusted lawyer, someone who can not only handle the unexpected but proactively help to protect the things people value the most,” said Suh in an interview.
LegalZoom started with only $1 million in angel funding. “I’m most proud of the human potential we’ve been able to unlock within our team of Zoomers. We’ve created a team focused on continuous learning, and we execute with a creative, strategic mindset. Realizing that evolution is a collaborative effort and minimizing fear of failure has allowed us to be nimble in an industry known for stagnancy,” added Suh in the interview.
Suh described himself as a “supply chain geek,” who has been fascinated by how technology would transform manufacturing and distribution across many industries. Over the last 20 years, Suh has run Internet companies that had interesting supply chain approaches to the fashion, consumer electronics, and legal industries. Prior to heading up LegalZoom, Suh was the CEO of the Internet division of Li and Fung called StudioDirect. And before that, he co-founded and worked as CEO of Castling Group.
I asked Suh if he could share any interesting stories about LegalZoom customers. A couple of customers that came to mind included GORUCK and Chi’Lantro. GORUCK is a rugged backpack brand and Chi’Lantro Korean Mexican fusion mobile truck company.
GORUCK was started by a former 10th Special Forces staff sergeant named Jason McCarthy. McCarthy was unemployed, nearly broke, recently divorced and was having a hard time adapting to civilian life. McCarthy said that the only thing keeping him going was Java, his chocolate Labrador dog. When McCarthy thought about the heavy-duty survival packs that his fellow soldiers carried around in Iraq as an exercise called “rucking,” a lightbulb in his head turned on. McCarthy founded GORUCK and turned to LegalZoom for legal help. GORUCK pulled in total revenues of $15 million in equipment sales and live events last year. And McCarthy now gives back to the military community by hiring veterans at GORUCK and his nonprofit Java Forever in memory of his first chocolate lab dog.
Chi’Lantro was founded by Jae Kim, who immigrated from Seoul to the U.S. at age 12. As of seven years ago, Jim had $30,000 in savings and a maxed out credit card. With his savings, he decided to purchase a food truck and established a Korean Mexican fusion mobile truck company called Chi'Lantro. As the son of a single mother, Kim often spent time cooking while he mom was at work. To launch his company, Kim turned to LegalZoom to help set up an LLC. Even though Chi'Lantro had a slow start in Austin, Texas, he was able to raise $600,000 from Barbara Corcoran on the TV show Shark Tank. Now Chi’Lantro has 4 locations in Austin, Texas and there are plans to expand in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.
“We literally have millions of conversations each year with small business owners. Drive and passion are recurring themes. Business owners want to take care of legal matters quickly and efficiently so they can get back to the all-consuming job of running their business,” explained Suh.