Masterful Marketing Move By Avvo USA

Posted at Legal Practice Intelligence - 11 April 2016



In the United States, if an individual or small business is looking for a legal form, there is a good chance that they will end up at LegalZoom.com. If they are searching online for a lawyer then Avvo is likely to be a prominent option. These two companies are market leaders in their respective activities.

Last year, Avvo raised US$71.5 million from private equity sources. It is now becoming clear how the company has spent at least some of this money. At the time of raising these funds, Bloomberg revealed (via unidentified sources) that the capital raising valued Avvo at US$650 million.

In a masterful marketing move, that ought to be a concern to LegalZoom, Avvo is now publishing free legal forms. The company announced:

Need legal forms and a lawyer to review them? Avvo has added a selection of no-cost, high-quality legal forms for family, business, estate planning and real estate to its website. Consumers are searching for legal forms online every day, spending nearly $5 billion downloading them in 2015. The company hopes that making forms freely available in the same place a consumer can hire an attorney will simplify the process.

Here are the highlights:

• Avvo expects to have more than 200 available by the end of 2016.
• The forms include a “wizard” feature along with e-signature capability, and can be easily shared with those who need to process or sign them.
• Forms can also be reviewed by a local attorney of the consumer’s choice through Avvo Legal Services, starting at $99.

“We believe people should pay for value, and value comes from the attorneys in our network,” said Sachin Bhatia, chief product officer at Avvo. “So, instead of shelling out $79 or more for a document elsewhere, we’d rather give them the form and have them use that money to hire the attorney of their choice.”

Free legal forms also benefit lawyers

Forty-two percent (42%) of consumers who try to handle their own legal affairs end up consulting an attorney for a solution to their legal problem. Avvo gives form creators the ability to seamlessly move from drafting and receiving a form directly, to scheduling a document review with a lawyer.

“It’s a priority of ours to make sure consumers aren’t just getting the tools they need,” said Bhatia, “but actual advice and guidance from a lawyer. We want to take as much pain out of the legal equation as possible.”


Avvo and LegalZoom Offerings are Evolving and Competing


Although LegalZoom built its market presence with affordable legal templates, it has also been moving into Avvo's field by connecting prospective clients with lawyers.

One way it has been doing this is by selling six month and 12 month subscriptions for "unlimited 30-minute consultations on new business and personal legal matters for one low monthly rate." The current charge is US$23.99 per month for a 12 month subscription.

Avvo has indicated that it will be upgrading its mobile app to encourage direct messaging between prospects and lawyers.

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