LegalZoom vs Clerky

Features, pricing, and contract terms compared

Patrick Ward Patrick Ward Follow Published: Sep 27, 2022

LegalZoom positions itself as the one-stop-shop for business owners who don't purchase attorney services, but still require legal support in a professional and personal capacity. In a similar way, Clerky also targets the legal side of an entrepreneur's business equation although they have a more focused niche of Silicon Valley startups. LegalZoom, instead, focuses on the business owner themselves as an individual, providing products traditionally out of the scope of strict business formation services.

Content on this page does not constitute financial advice. It is intended for general information purposes only.

LegalZoom

3.4/5 stars

LegalZoom, true word to their brand, have built a service offering aimed at all the legal concerns of a business owner, both professionally and personally. Tilting their framing towards legal expertise, they are less concerned than Clerky on their specific customer, preferring to offer a standard set of professional and personal legal services, at a fraction of an attorney's cost, to a wide range of SMB and single-person entrepreneurs.

Clerky

4.1/5 stars

Clerky's positioning is also towards legal concerns for entrepreneurs but, unlike LegalZoom, they have a considerably more focused niche. Clerky explicitly targets Silicon Valley Startups, with a plethora of social proof from household names in the SaaS space, providing the specific legal products that Bay Area Startups need to succeed.

Summary of key differences

FeatureLegalZoomClerky
Entry price$79 + state fees$99 + state fees
Standard processing time20 business days2-3 business days
Foreign qualification fee $229 $125

Pricing Analysis: LegalZoom vs Clerky

LegalZoom's relatively pricey legal services compared to other business formation providers, stacks up against one of their own in Clerky where LegalZoom's basic package costs $79 + state fees, compared to Clerky's $99 + state fees. LegalZoom, unfortunately drastically exceeds on the registered agent renewal side of the equation, with an annual fee of $299 compared to Clerky's much more reasonable $125.

LegalZoom pricing

The base pricing from LegalZoom is less expensive than Clerky. However, note that pricing is impacted by state fees. For example, LegalZoom customers setting up an LLC in Delaware will see an initial cost of $169 (package cost plus the state LLC fee). In Wyoming, the same package would cost $279 because of the higher state fee.

Clerky pricing

Clerky is the more expensive formation service offering compared with LegalZoom. However, note that pricing is impacted by state fees. For example, Clerky customers setting up an LLC in Delaware will see an initial cost of $189 (package cost plus the state LLC fee). In Wyoming, the same package would cost $299 because of the higher state fee.

LegalZoom vs Clerky market value analysis

Market average based on analysis of 9 formation services providers.
MetricMarket AverageLegalZoomClerky
Lowest package price$156 before state fees$79 + state fees$99 + state fees
Formation processing time9 business days20 business days2-3 business days
Registered agent annual cost$152 $229 $125

User experience & onboarding

Onboarding for LegalZoom aims to demystify legal services with respect to business formation. Optionality is built-in to the flow with micro-chat questionnaire to help business owners determine the right type of business formation along with options to pick from a set menu with transparent pricing. Add-ons populate throughout the onboarding, but given the transparent pricing up front, it isn't a surprise to any prospective business owner.

Clerky mimics the flow of their target customer very seamlessly, prompting an account creation. While slightly inconvenient, it's worth noting that the account creation doesn't incur any fees until particular legal products are purchased. Clerky also makes a fairly binary choice for prospective customers - a one time all-inclusive package or an a-la-carte option with transparent pricing for each product.

LegalZoom, true to their price point, makes a seamless onboarding experience that helps a business owner swiftly and easily decide on the right legal products for themselves. Clerky, on the other hand, prompts account creation before subjecting an entrepreneur to an onboarding flow, a minor inconvenience but one all the same. LegalZoom earns the nod here for a more user-friendly design that helps discern the relative costs and value from various legal products available to a business owner, at a fraction of an attorney's cost.

Formation speed

Both companies are in the LegalTech space, in addition to the Business Formation industry, so you would expect lengthy processing times. With LegalZoom, you'd be right with twenty business day formation speeds being the norm. Clerky disrupts those expectations significantly, aligning its operating practices more with the Silicon Valley startups it serves than the Legal origins of its service, providing business formation processing speeds of two to three business days.

LegalZoom's twenty business day processing time is in the highest range for formation services. When compared to lawyers in general, this speed might seem swift, and indeed their services are indicative of the 'legaltech' market that reduces the cost of traditionally expensive legal advice. However, their formation speed is not up to scratch when compared to Business Formation-specific services that promise processing in a handful of days.

Not quite as swift as one day, Clerky's two to three day processing time is still up there with the fastest in the space. With a narrow band of well-targeted products, it makes sense that their processing times are fairly prompt, by industry standards.

Are they worth the cost?

LegalZoom is geared towards both the SMB and Solopreneur markets, with a strong emphasis on the individual business owner themselves. Their positioning is indicative of trying to be a one-stop-shop for businesses that have legal needs but are fearful of the costly retainers incurred by an in-house counsel or legal contractor. LegalZoom's products look to cover the breadth of what an SMB or Solopreneur business owner would need - not only professionally such as formation, trademarks, and ongoing contracts, but also personal with products for estate planning, family law, and real estate.

Not shy about their target, Clerky bashes you over the proverbial head with their ideal customer: Silicon Valley Startups. The score of recognizable names including Zapier, Segment, Coinbase, Gusto, feature heavily in their positioning as Silicon Valley's go-to for legal paperwork. Their products cover the suite of likely legal considerations for a Startup beyond Formation including Fundraising, Hiring, Structural Changes and NDAs.

NanoGlobals editor's rating for LegalZoom reflects its comprehensive nature of legal services for an aspiring business owner. LegalZoom earns points for being more cost-efficient than regular attorney services along with ease of onboarding via chat and helpful introductory flows to their products. Unfortunately, they miss the mark on pricing and processing times when compared to the industry average, outweighing any perceived advantage of being legal experts since, like with all services in this formation niche, their recommendations don't constitute legal advice.

NanoGlobals editor's rating show Clerky as a great option within their particular niche. While clearly not for every entrepreneur, their Silicon Valley experience shines through with transparent pricing that is substantially lower than other Silicon Valley-oriented services, especially with respect to ongoing fees. Minor deductions for a slightly slower processing time, although not by much, and an onboarding flow that insists on account creation up front.

Author Credentials

Patrick Ward is an expert on working with startups and new businesses. He has 8 years experience serving tech-enabled companies with staffing and growth.

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