February 29, 2012 / 4:35 PM / 6 years ago

LegalZoom close to filing for IPO: sources

SAN FRANCISCO (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.

The 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 LegalZoom competitor, said in August 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 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 firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Institutional Venture Partners.

LegalZoom co-founder Robert Shapiro is famous for being part of O.J. Simpson’s legal defense team. He worked on the case with Robert Kardashian, the late father of celebrity Kim Kardashian.

Shapiro helped start online subscription website ShoeDazzle with Kim Kardashian and Brian Lee, who was also a co-founder of LegalZoom. ShoeDazzle raised $40 million last year from venture capital firms, including Andreessen Horowitz.

Reporting By Alistair Barr; editing by Mark Porter and Andre Grenon

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