It’s true that starting an online store can be a little bit intimidating when it comes to the business aspects (think taxes, legal filings, the business paperwork, etc.)
But one thing that’s surprisingly untrue is that those aspects of small business ownership make the leap into a new venture costly and unrealistic for the average person. In fact, there are many low cost — sometimes even free —options out there that make life a whole lot easier (and less scary, too!)
In this post, we’re going to focus on the legal side of business ownership, and point out 25 places to find
Let’s start with some of the versatile platforms that have several different features and uses.
Low-Cost Legal Advice, Tools, and Platforms
Whether you need a tool to help you find the right lawyer, or you simply need to find and download the right legal document, these resources are make owning an online store just a little bit simpler.
LegalShield grants online business owners access to legal counsel when they need it. With different service tiers, you can get legal consultations, phone calls, legal documents, and even trial services.
Cost: Plans start at $39/month
RocketLawyer helps online business owners create legal documents and offers legal consultation on demand. With this tool, you can get your legal documents professionally reviewed, electronically signed, and ask questions to a certified lawyer whenever you need assistance.
Cost: Free trial for one week, then plans start at $39.95/month
Nolo began as a company that produced print legal resources, but today, their online site offers free legal advice and tips as well as books and forms that you can purchase. You can also browse their extensive directory of attorneys, which is arranged geographically and via speciality.
Cost: Products start at $19.99
LegalZoom is a
Cost: Plans start at $23.99/month
LawDepot allows store owners to customize and print important legal documents, like the paperwork for an LLC or sole proprietorship.
Cost: Documents are priced per document on the basic plan ranging from
6. Creative Class Contract
Ideal for online store owners who need a customizable contract that can be tailored to their unique business needs, this
LegalMatch helps you find the right lawyer for your legal issue or within your
From contracts to intellectual property documents, FindLegalForms.com can help you download and purchase the legal forms you need for your business. These are attorney prepared, valid in your state, and have a
Cost: Per form, or kits begin at $39.95
9. Net Lawman
Cost: Templates begin at £58.80 inc VAT
10. Small Business Administration
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has many free resources that can help you better understand the laws and regulations around owning and operating an online business, as well as handling legal concerns. Check out the many different resources here to get
11. Federal Resources
Within the United States, there are actually quite a few free federal resources at your disposal for legal advice that can help get you pointed in the right direction regarding your questions and concerns:
- The IRS has online tools and resources with telephone assistance and an FAQ section
- The US Department of Justice lists
pro-bonolegal service providers by state
- The Associate Chief Counsel of the IRS issues documents that are legal advice on industry issues
Online courses are another good way to get
12. Startup & Small Business Law: Business Registration and More
13. Legal Advice for Entrepreneurs & StartUps: Concepts Every Entrepreneur Should Understand
This beginner level course can help online store owners get a basic level of understanding about the legal issues around commercial websites, intellectual property, apps, as well as some general, practical legal advice. Bonus: It’s only about an hour long.
14. Law for the Entrepreneur and Manager
(Via MIT OpenCourseware)
MIT is known for offering free,
It can be tough to know where to begin sometimes, and forums and crowdsourcing can help you get pointed in the right direction. However, remember that these options, especially when it comes to legal advice, shouldn’t serve as a substitute for an actual lawyer. Use these resources as a jumping off
Forums and Crowdsourcing Options
Quora is a forum where people ask questions and share answers, and the best answers are upvoted based on quality and relevance (like this one, for example). The issue here: You can’t verify where your advice is coming from and how reliable your source is. It’s a good starting place for chatting with fellow business owners, but it’s in no way a substitute for professional legal advice.
Avvo lets you find free legal advice, ask questions, find a lawyer, or even choose a legal service for a fixed
Here you’ll find a variety of free articles with legal advice for your online business, as well as helpful features like Ask a Lawyer and Find a Lawyer that help you ask legal questions and find the counsel you need. Bonus: Customer reviews are listed here so that you can see what others have to say about each different attorney.
Here, you can find a local attorney for any type of legal issue for free and browse their legal help center with helpful
With LawGuru, you have the ability to ask legal questions and find answers for questions. You may find that a question you have has already been answered, and you can also browse articles and connect with the more than 8,800 attorneys who specialize in different legal areas. Again, the thing to remember here: Free legal advice isn’t always the best advice.
Justia is another find a lawyer/ask a lawyer resource that lets you seek out different types of legal advice based on topic. You can research different laws and regulations, read up on legal news, and even find a
22. Local attorneys
Ask your existing network of connections of friends and family to see if there’s a local lawyer they can refer you to. Sometimes, working with a local attorney in a
23. Lawyers with
Lawyers sometimes take on
24. Local SCORE chapter
Your local SCORE chapter, which connects business owners with mentors, can be a great option for getting connected with someone who can help guide you through a tough time when you need advice. Join a chapter to get linked up with an experienced partner who’s been through some of the ups and downs of business ownership, and can share his or her insights.
The ALA provides members of local chapters with advice and resources on all aspects of legal
Legal Advice for Your Online Store: A Few Clicks Away
If you’ve been wondering where you look for
- Explore the forums and crowdsourcing options to get an idea of how you might tackle the legal issue you’re facing, and see how others have solved a similar problem in the past
- Download and purchase the forms you need online to speed up the process (and save costs)
- Find a lawyer through one of the services we’ve outlined here if you still need advice
- Consider a
long-termsolution, like a membership, club, or mentor that will help you solve future legal issues down the road
The good news for online store owners is that thanks to the internet, reliable legal advice and resources are only a few clicks away — and they’re more affordable than ever before.
Final note: Keep in mind that any legal advice you receive online (as opposed to in person, from an attorney you’ve paid) should always be verified before acted on. The last thing you want is to get you and your business into a sticky situation because of faulty legal information you received online from an unreliable source. Be smart, remember that you get what you pay for, and use these resources as a place to get started, not as a handbook.
Do you want to learn more about legal aspects of running an online store?
- Legal Docs for Online Stores: Protection and Trust
- How to Write an Effective Return Policy
- 25 Places to Find
- 6 Major Legal Policy Fails of Fortune 500s
- Understanding the Terms and Conditions Page
- Registering Your Ecommerce Business
- Protecting the Brand: How To Register a Trademark