Rocket Lawyer raises $18.5M for web-based do-it-yourself legal assistance

Rocket Lawyer, a fast-growing online legal service, said today it has raised $18.5 million in a new round of funding.

The San Francisco company will use the money to continue building Rocket Lawyer’s brand and online legal business.

Dan Nye, chief executive of Rocket Lawyer, said in an interview that the idea is to make legal services easy and more affordable to everyone via simplified online processes.

“The powerful part of this is you can use technology to create custom legal documents,” Nye said. “And you can reach a network of lawyers at discounted rates.”

Each month, consumers generate more than 20,000 wills and 40,000 business contracts with the site’s step-by-step online interview process. Rocket Lawyer helps users create custom legal documents that can be electronically signed online and shared instantly or downloaded for printing. For novices, the site offers a free “legal check up” questionnaire that helps people secure titles for their property or generate automated wills. The questionnaire generates a “Legal Health Score” for the user and makes recommendations.

Those who sign up for the paid legal plan service can have documents reviewed for free from local attorneys and they can receive deeply discounted rates on legal services that are more complicated. Businesses can use the service to protect themselves from liability and incorporate their businesses. Lawyers can use the site to market their services and get targeted client referrals.

15 million people and thousands of businesses have already taken advantage of advice from attorneys via Rocket Lawyer, said the company’s founder and executive chairman, Charley Moore.

The number of visitors to the site has grown 100 percent from a year ago. David Hornik, general partner of August Capital and a board member, said that Rocket Lawyer is the fastest-growing legal web site.

The financing was led by August Capital and includes Google Ventures and Investor Growth Capital.

The company was founded in August 2008. Lexis Nexis invested $2.1 million in 2009 and Investor Growth Capital invested $7 million in 2010. The company has 60 employees now and plans on increasing that. Rivals include Legal Zoom, Nolo, and USLegalForms.com.


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