Legal Business Blogs

Targeting the UK: LegalZoom becomes first US business to gain ABS

US online legal solution site LegalZoom has become the first American business to receive an Alternative Business Structure (ABS) licence as it looks to build its operations in the UK.

The move will see the online site become the first US company to have an ABS licence to provide reserved legal activities in the UK as the brand aims to develop partnerships in the UK and broaden how it delivers legal services.

LegalZoom Legal Services, as branded in the UK, will be headed by chief executive Craig Holt – the former co-founder of QualitySolicitors, which was founded in 2008 and became the UK’s first national chain of solicitors – who joined LegalZoom in December 2014. The hire came after the California-based site formed a partnership with QualitySolicitors in September 2012, to offer online legal services in the UK including company formations and divorce documents.

‘An ABS provides broader freedom in how we work with lawyers, and we expect increasing levels of partnership in the US and the UK,’ said Holt. ‘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.’

LegalZoom co-founder Edward Hartman added: ‘Our expansion efforts in the UK are an opportunity for LegalZoom to work more closely with attorneys. We are always searching for innovative ways to create a better customer experience and provide greater access to the law.’

The move follows a wave of ABS conversions last year including EY, which become the latest accountancy giant to be granted an ABS licence in December. One month earlier, insurance specialist Kennedys also received approval from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), as did KPMG in early October.