US online legal services provider LegalZoom – which claims to be the best-known legal brand in America – has today become the first US business to be licensed as an alternative business structure (ABS).
Legal Futures revealed late last year that LegalZoom had hired QualitySolicitors co-founder Craig Holt  as its UK chief executive and that it intended to become the largest legal brand in the UK  as well.
“Our expansion efforts in the UK are an opportunity for LegalZoom to work more closely with attorneys.” said Eddie Hartman, co-founder of LegalZoom.
“We are always searching for innovative ways to create a better customer experience and provide greater access to the law. Lawyers are a key ingredient of any legal solution, and licensing as an ABS is a natural building block of LegalZoom’s future.”
A year ago LegalZoom sold a large chunk of its business  to leading European private equity company Permira, and in a statement at the time the pair said “the Permira funds’ backing strengthens LegalZoom’s ability to move forward with its significant growth plans, which include potential acquisitions in both the US and abroad”.
Mr Holt said: “An ABS provides broader freedom in how we work with lawyers, and we expect increasing levels of partnership in the US and the UK.
“By offering innovative legal solutions and a customer-focused experience, LegalZoom hopes to have a meaningful impact on the existing gap in access to legal services and the way legal help is delivered in the UK.”
Founded more than 12 years ago, LegalZoom says it has helped over two million Americans become protected with binding legal documents.
Unlike in the UK, in the US LegalZoom is not a law firm and has had skirmishes in various states over whether it is engaged in the unauthorised practice of law. Instead it helps people access a lawyer through subscription legal plans.