EXCLUSIVE-LegalZoom close to filing for IPO-sources

Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:23pm GMT

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By Alistair Barr

SAN FRANCISCO Feb 29 (Reuters) - LegalZoom.com Inc, the largest online legal document service in the United States, is close to filing for an initial public offering, according to two sources familiar with the company's plans.

LegalZoom has been picking underwriters for its IPO and hopes to file offering documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission in coming weeks, the sources said. They did not want to be identified because the company's plans are private.

A LegalZoom spokeswoman declined to comment.

LegalZoom was started in 2001 to help people draw up legal documents such as wills, incorporations and trademarks without lawyers and the fees that come with such advice.

This business, which has served more than 1 million customers, is profitable but growth is relatively slow.

LegalZoom launched a new business last year that connects people with attorneys for advice and charges a monthly fee.

While the company has been around for more than a decade, investment in this niche of the legal industry has increased recently.

Rocket Lawyer, a competitor to LegalZoom, said in August that it raised $18.5 million from venture capital firms including August Capital and Google Ventures, part of Google Inc (GOOG.O).

Rocket Lawyer said in August that it was the fastest-growing online legal service, with visits to the company's website up more than 100 percent year over year. Rocket Lawyer also offers access to attorneys for a monthly fee.

LegalZoom raised $66 million last year from venture capital giants Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Institutional Venture Partners.

(Reporting By Alistair Barr; editing by Mark Porter)

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