Legalshield is an Oklahoma based network marketing company which sells pre-paid legal services. The company was started in 1972, under the name 'Sportman's Motor Club. In 1976 they changed their name to 'Pre-Paid Legal Services', and in 2011 it became known as Legalshield
Legalshield offers their services through a network of legal professionals across the USA and Canada. Membership plans are promoted and sold by associates in their multi-level marketing system. All members can become 'associates' and earn commission by promoting Legalshield plans to new members.
We believe that you can't make money with MLM, but we'll give them a chance to prove us wrong. In this full review of Legalshield. We'll find out if this is a legitimate money making opportunity, or just another network marketing company.
What does Legalshield do
Legalshield's goal is to provide affordable legal care, for any situation, to all members. The concept seems simple enough. You pay a low monthly membership fee, and in return, get access to the legal assistance that could potentially cost several thousand dollars.
The Legalshield website explains that they cover issues related to;
Landlord / Tenant
With personal plans starting at $17.95 per month, and small business plans at $39 a month, it certainly appears to be fairly extensive legal coverage! There's also identity theft plans starting at $9.95 per month. For just a few extra dollars per month, all plans can be upgraded to cover you and your loved ones.
Legalsheild is building a 'community of coverage' with their network of lawyers from all over the US and Canada. This allows them to provide a local service no matter where you are. Legalshield is keeping up with the times and also offers mobile apps for both iphone and Android, so that you can access their services at the touch of your screen.
How do you Make Money With Legalshield
We looked at the Legalshield opportunity, and found out that you can achieve success in four easy steps:
1. Become a Member - Buy a Legalshield membership for yourself
2. Sign up as an associate - Pay at least $99 and agree to be part of the MLM network
3. Sell to others - Get other people to join as members and associates
4. Get rewarded - Relax while the network marketing system makes you financially free.
The Legalshield compensation page, explains that you can earn money from personal sales and from building a team. If your team gets large enough, then you'll eventually have residual income and will qualify for the 'performance club' which gives you additional riches.
We also looked at the four page Legalshield compensation plan. This compensation plan is definitely the most vague of all the MLMs we've looked at so far. Legalshield appear to have done their best to only provide minimal information. The lack of detail could be because they are lawyers and only give the legal minimum, or it could be that they don't want us to see how bad the opportunity really is.
Based on the limited information in their compensation plan, we can see that Legalshield is very similar to most network marketing companies. You can earn commission for direct sales or from sales made by others you have recruited to the system. The amount you can earn per sale increases as you grow your team and advance through the MLM ranks.
When you first sign up as as 'associate' with Legalshield, you can earn $65.16 for direct sales and $13.04 override on sales made by those in your downline. If you reach the top rank of 'Executive Director', then you will earn $182.46 for direct sales and up to $117.30 override from sales made in your downline.
How Much are People Making With Legalshield
We found a copy of the 2015 Legalshield Income Disclosure. The first thing we see is that only 2.5% of members are active associates. This could be a good sign, after all that would suggest that 97.5% of the members are retail customers and not part of the MLM structure. It could also mean that a large number of associates drop out of the MLM but are still members.
Legalshield has chosen to present the data in a rather unusual format. They have shown us earnings based on how many years associates have been with Legalshield, rather than by what rank they have reached. Once again we assume that they have provided what is legally required, but could have chosen to present the data in a way that makes them look as good as possible.
The most important point we found in this document is that in 2015 83% of all Legalshield associates earned less than $1,000. In other words, only 1 in 6 Legalshield associates earned more than $20 a week.
Let's not forget that income is not the same as profit. As we saw in the compensation plan, step 1 is to become a member, and that means paying monthly fees. If we include the cost of Legalshield membership, and other costs of running and promoting your 'own business', we'd expect to find that most Legalshield associates are losing money.
How is Legalshield being Promoted
To get an idea of how Legalshield is being promoted, we looked at an online copy of the Legalsheild business opportunity presentation. This 45 page slide show is designed to recruit new associates to the Legalshield MLM. This gave us some insights into how the business opportunity is being presented to new recruits.
The recruitment presentation tells us that Legalshield can teach us 'life-transforming skills', it hen goes on to tell us that Legalshield has a strong rating with Oklahoma business bureau. They also tell us that they have 5 Stars with Consumer Affairs. It's true, the rating is 5 stars, but when we read the comments, we saw that all the negative comments had been removed by Legalshield. It's almost as if they were using their network of lawyers to protect their image!
Next we see statistics stating that you are 'almost three times more likely to be in court than you are to be hospitalized'. We feel that this might be a bit misleading, think about that for a moment. When is the last time you or someone you know went to either court or was in hospital. If you and your friends are anything like ours, you'll be able to recall a lot more hospitalizations than court visits.
While there could be more court cases than hospitalizations, a large portion of them occur at the corporate level and don't necessarily involve individuals. We can't see specific details of the data collected for this statistic. It's possible that Legalshield presented the statistics in a way that advertised a need for their services.
We then see a long list of services provided by Legalshield, all with the small print disclaimer, telling us that exclusions and limitations apply. The presentation then shows that paying $20 per month for Legalshield can help you avoid paying $250 per hour for a lawyer. For an extra $19.90 per month, you can also get ID shield to gain access to legal services related to identity theft. When I think of all the fees I've never paid to lawyers over my life, I would rather save the $39.90 a month.
Will Legalshield Cover All Your Legal Needs
As we saw in the presentation of the business opportunity, Legalshield does seem to offer a fairly extensive range of services. We looked at the Legalshield plan details for California, and found that the cover might not be as extensive as we'd hope. For example letters and phone calls made on your behalf are available 'at the discretion of the Provider Lawyer'. In other words it's an optional service for them. They can decide not to do this for you.
We also noticed that the contract and document review service is limited to 15 pages per document. Most contracts we've looked at over the years have been well over 15 pages. Having only the first 15 pages reviewed might give us a partial idea, but we'd miss out on all the important information contained from pages 16 onward.
We found more details in a sample version of the Legalshield services agreement. Under trial defense, we see that Legalshield will provide a fixed number of hours of service per year. This would help if we have to appear in court. However when we look at the list of exclusions, once again, the cover is less comprehensive than we might have hoped.
Criminal charges are not covered by Legalshield, neither are cases involving medications (even if prescribed). It also appears that most family matters such as divorce and child custody etc are also not covered. You might be more likely to go to court than to hospital, but to us it looks like some of the most likely reasons to go to court are not fully covered by Legalshield.
It does appear that you can still use Legalshield for these excluded matters, but instead of full coverage, you will get a 25% discount from their preferred provider. Once again this is provided subject to their own judgment, and does not include an contingency matters. The 25% discount also applies to the pages in documents which aren't included in the first 15.
To us Legalshield looks more like discounted legal services than full pre-paid legal cover. Having said that, a 25% discount could make the membership worthwhile. The only concern we'd have is that there is no choice of attorney. We have have to use the designated providers through Legalshield. In some matters we might prefer a different lawyer who is more specialized in whatever it is that we need. Another issue in regards to the pricing. If we had a simple matter, we might be able to negotiate a better deal than the 25% discount to the full price of the designated providers.
Should You Join Legalshield
If you think that the services they offer are worthwhile and you are happy to only use the legal providers they offer, then maybe Legalshield is right for you. If you are joining because you are interested in the business opportunity and want to supplement or replace your income, then we suggest you do some very thorough research of all your options before making a decision.
As we have seen from their own income disclosure, most Legalshield associates are not making much money. Like most MLMs we believe you could do better if you put the same time and effort into something else. Despite the promises of financial freedom, less than 1% of people who join MLM will ever make a significant income.
This has been our opinion on Legalshield, and whether or not you can make money with them. We'd love to hear from you in the comments section below, specially if you can share your experiences with Legalshield.
For more posts like this, look at our list of mlm reviews.