We make it a point to review legitimate network marketing companies, and we’ve finally decided to take an in-depth look at Legal Shield to see just what they are all about.
We are not associated with Legal Shield in any capacity – we are just doing some research so that others can learn what makes Legal Shield a possible opportunity.
If you have very little time, we have done a video review of LegalShield and you can see that by clicking: LegalShield Review. It is 9 minutes and 45 seconds long.
The facts show that Legal Shield has been around a LONG time and although they have gone through some legal issues (as would any company in existence that long), they are an ongoing, legal and thriving concern, so we say:
Stop already with the claims of “Scam”…tell the truth!
Alright, with that little rant out of the way, here ARE the facts: NOTE: We utilized a great deal of information from Wikipedia, and from Legal Shields corporate website. Click on each of the links provided below to go directly to those locations and read as much as you like concerning more details.
History of Legal Shield
Legal Shield began as the Sportsman’s Motor Club on August 8, 1972. It was started by Harland Stonecipher after he had his savings depleted in trying to defend himself in an auto accident law suit filed against him in Ada Oklahoma. Even though he was not found to be at fault, the legal expense depleted all his resources. Mr. Stonecipher researched legal plans in Europe, and started the Sportsman’s Motor Club, which was structured to offer legal expense reimbursements to its members.
The Sportsman’s Motor Club operated in that business structure (reimbursement of legal costs to members) In 1976, it was incorporated as Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. and in 1983, started to operate as a multi-level (network marketing) entity. Pre-Paid Legal went public in 1984 on the NASDAQ National Market System in 1984. They went to the American Stock Exchange two years later, and in 1999, were listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
We won’t go into all the issues that Pre-paid Legal ran into, but as with any other public company, and the fact they operated as a network marketing company (which every MLM company realizes is like hanging a sign around their neck saying “lightning rod – please strike me!), did not make their journey any less difficult.
The company merged with MidOcean Partners in June of 2011, a privately equity firm and this transaction resulted in Pre-Paid Legal becoming privately held. They changed their name to LegalShield in September of 2011.
LegalShield is still located where they started, in Ada Oklahoma. The company has over 650 employees and service more than 1.4 million members. From their website, here is a company FACT SHEET that covers a lot of their service and prices (discussed, below).
What Does LegalShield Do For Its Members?
LegalShield is basically “insurance” just like auto, home, or life insurance. As a member, you pay a monthly fee (a premium) for coverage in the instance you need an attorney. When you have an issue that requires legal help, you make one call to LegalShield, and they connect you with an attorney that will take care of your legal problem.
As you can imagine, they have a LOT of attorneys they work with, which they call a Dedicated Attorney Network. Here is a brief video from their website describing how the system works:
LegalShield’s website is very comprehensive, and after spending a great deal of time on the site, we found all the answers you might expect to be looking for.
The basic cost of their service varies by state for the Legal Plan by state, for example we saw that for most states, it is $19.95 per month, with some states lower (for example, Florida at $17.95 per month, or Alaska at $14.95 per month).
They have structured the products to allow discounts based on buying more service. For example, in the state of Georgia, the basic legal plan is $19.95 per month, but you can purchase their Identity Theft coverage for $9.95 additional per month (normally $14.95/month), or their Identity Theft Premium coverage for $19.95 a month (normally $29.95/month).
Other “Supplements” include a Trial Defense Supplement ($9.95/month), a Home Business Supplement ($9.95/month), and a Home Business Supplement + a “GoSmallBiz” for $24.90/month.
If you want to see these products explained, including a very thorough video library on their site, CLICK HERE.
Identity Theft Help
LegalShield is a good option for an identity theft protection service. The most valuable aspect of the service is that it includes complete good name restoration by legal professionals from Kroll Advisory Solutions. The service also actively monitors personal information on websites, chat rooms, forums and networks to catch suspicious activity before it turns into identity theft.
The membership protects two adults, with limited monitoring of personal information, unlike top-rated services that offer unlimited monitoring.
The Identity Theft Premium plan is a budget-friendly plan that protects two spouses for $24.95/month. Members are also charged a one-time membership fee of $10 when they sign up. LegalShield allows Identity Theft Premium plan members to add up to eight children under the age of 18 for $1/month per child. This plan is available in all 50 states.
LegalShield also offers a cheaper identity theft protection plan for $12.95/month with a one-time $10 membership fee called the Identity Theft Plan, and — unlike the Identity Theft Premium plan — this plan is available to all 50 states as well as parts of Canada.
It’s important to note that this plan does not compare to the ID Premium plan because, even though it offers some of the identity theft restoration features, it only provides members access to their credit report from Experian as well as only monitors the Experian credit file.
Here is their explanation video on the difference between the two levels of Identify Theft Protection from the LegalShield website:
Is LegalShield a Service You Need?
The LegalShield concept strikes a chord in our sensibilities and makes sense. Most people don’t perceive they need legal help, but it is the instance in the future when you DO need legal help that would make having LegalShield in place an advantage over not having it in place.
This is the essence of insurance, so we just note it seems to be working for 1.4 million members, and you can do your own search for reviews of experiences (both good and bad, we’re sure) LegalShield customers have had, and draw your own conclusions.
The Identity Theft Premium plan we think is a bit high priced, but with the continuing increase of identity theft in the county, putting this protection in place makes a lot of sense. Kroll Advisory Solutions has been at “cyber-security” for decades, and has been the partner of LegalShield for over a decade, so these partners clearly have the Identity Theft area covered.
Based on their long history, the probability of LegalShield continuing on in the future is excellent, especially if you decide to either add their protection for you and your family, or build a LegalShield business. Because LegalShield is a private company, we cannot check their financial statements, but with so many customers, we would think should there be issues with service or more correctly, “lack of service”, that would be fairly easy to see and we see no warning flags of that nature.
What About Going into Business Selling LegalShield?
Let’s look at the network marketing aspect of LegalShield in general, and then look at their compensation plan.
If you are brand new to the concept of Network Marketing, we want to direct you to a video we did on what a networking marketing business is from start to finish – it is a bit long, so just copy the URL and save it if you don’t have time to watch it. It will, however, cover all you need to know about what building a network marketing business on the Internet entails.
Becoming a LegalShield Associate
Becoming a LegalShield Associate means you invest $149 to be allowed to market the LegalShield products. The Legal Shield compensation plan is based on the stair step breakaway design which is structured so that team members have support during their early growth but can later branch off and lead their growing team independently.
Standard Ways of Making Income in LegalShield
There are three standard ways of earning in LegalShield:
1. Personal Advance
A personal advance is a onetime payment made anytime a new member signs up for a regular yearly membership. It represents all the profits for the first year. The exact amount that a representative earns on each personal advance depends on their promotional level. Junior associates only make $34 on the sale of each plan but they can increase this to $68 by becoming fast start qualified (or signing 5 new customers for full memberships in their first 30 days). Each promotional level earns an associate roughly $30 more per plan until capping at Executive Director which gets paid $252 per plan.
2. Team Overrides
Team overrides are paid to an upline sponsor when a downline member gets a customer to sign up for a full membership. Each promotional level earns an additional $34 for their team override except the Executive director level which earns $44. So, for example, when an Executive Director earns a team override they earn $34+$34+$34+$34+$44 = $180.
3. Lifetime Residuals
Lifetime renewals are like continued commission paid on monthly maintenance fees after the first year. So, any customer that is retained after their 13th month results in a monthly residual commission for the signing distributor for the lifetime of the contract. The specific percentage paid depends on both the promotional level of the distributor and their customer rate of retention. It ranges from 1 to 18%.
Nonstandard payment is awarded in the form of incentives. Common incentives include exotic vacations, cars, cash prizes, and bonus opportunities. To earn these one-time offers a distributor must meet certain guidelines or accomplish a specific set of goals.
CLIMBING TO THE TOP: PROMOTING WITH LEGAL SHIELD
There are six levels of promotion that can be used as the measuring stick for Legal Shield success. These six promotional levels not only represent a growing team for distributors who earn them, but perhaps more importantly represent the growing commission pay out for those associates.
Junior Associate – Commissions on your first five (5) personal sales are paid as 1/2 advanced and 1/2 “as earned.” If you Fast Start Qualify (see Associate advancement above), you will receive your pending “as earned” commissions as an advance.
Associate – Achieve this level and Fast Start Qualify by having three (3) personal sales and personally sponsoring one (1) new Fast Start recruit (with a membership) OR by having five (5) personal sales OR by personally sponsoring 2 (two) Fast Start recruits* each with a membership within your first 30 days. If you do not Fast Start Qualify, advance to this level by having 10 Performance Club points or a total of 10 sales (personal and/or organizational)
Senior Associate – Achieve this level by having three (3) legs with an active Jr. Associate in each leg, AND 30 organizational (including personal) sales.
Manager – Achieve this level by having three (3) legs with an active Associate in each leg AND 100 organizational (including personal) sales.
Director – Achieve this level by having three (3) legs with an active Sr. Associate in each leg AND 200 organizational (including personal) sales.
Executive Director – Achieve this level by being a Director level with 50 sales (personal or organizational). Associates cannot count more than 20 sales from any one leg in your organization. Qualify in one month for commissions at this level the following month.
ADVANTAGES OF THE LEGAL SHIELD COMPENSATION PLAN
So what is good about the compensation plan of LegalShield? Their compensation plan is a Unilevel plan (see illustration), which Unilevel, as the name suggests, only enables you to sponsor one line of distributors,
therefore everyone you sponsor is on your front line. There are no width limitations to this plan (i.e. there is no limit to the amount of people you can sponsor in your front line). This is an advantage both because it increases earning on the team leader’s top line and because it allows them to stack their top line and increase the likelihood that three of their recruited associates will build a team, promote, and support the team leader’s upline goals.
LegalShield is very open about their sales program, compensation plan, and training system, which means that every distributor not only has the same opportunity to achieve but has ample opportunity to do their due diligence before signing with the company.
DISADVANTAGES: THINGS THAT ARE DIFFICULT ABOUT THE LEGALSHIELD COMPENSATION PLAN
There are two primary disadvantages inherent to the Legal Shield Compensation Plan’s structure:
- Deficit based commissions – When a customer signs a new membership, the associate is paid an “advance” against the full first year. Unfortunately, consumers often elect not to fulfill their year contract and the associate has been overpaid for the sale. When this happens, the company takes a “clawback” against the associate’s next commission which can occasionally leave a consultant earning considerably less than they had expected and budgeted around.
- Breakaway/Stairstep Compensation Plan – The other drawback of this compensation plan is universal among MLM opportunities. Every commission paid is divided between no less than 5 upline levels. This structure rewards those with a large team but often leaves those just getting started struggling to earn enough to support their business.
To thoroughly discuss the nuances of the Legal Shield compensation plan is outside the scope of this review. For those who want to really understand their complete compensation plan, do your due diligence and speak with a Legal Shield “higher level” participant and ask a lot of questions.
We will say this – in general, the compensation plan at Legal Shield is common in the MLM industry. The problem with a breakaway plan is that it requires skills that a typical “part-time” associate may not possess – you have to be excellent at training leaders, at driving volume of sales, in essence, if you are not experienced at “sales” in a general sense, and management in a “specific” sense, you will find it very difficult to make a large income at not only Legal Shield, but at any other network marketing opportunity that utilizes a similar compensation plan.
We recommend you do research and understand fully this compensation plan. We did find excellent resources that explain this and other compensation plans. This link –MLM Insider.com does a very nice job of running through various network marketing compensation plans. Take some time and thoroughly explore their details.
Closing Thoughts about Legal Shield..
As a network marketing opportunity, few companies have been around as long as LegalShield, so their track record is not in question. Their website (to us as outsiders) was very comprehensive and transparent. The compensation plan is not unlike other network marketing opportunities. The concept is a sold one and clearly LegalShield is staying on top of current issues with products like their Identity Theft programs.
LegalShield has carved out a good niche’ and we found it easy to research their business. This is good – had there been a challenge in finding details, we would not have written nearly as comprehensive or positive a review.
The Final Common Issue LegalShield Carries..
LegalShield is a network marketing business and with that comes the age-old problem of “how do you grow your business?” We have addressed this issue in many of our blogs, so we’ll point you to our analysis of the “old school method (friends and family, non-Internet driven) and the “new school” method – building on the Internet.Old School of Building a Network Marketing Business New School of Building a Network Marketing Business
Here at MLMWildfire, this is what we are all about – taking you by the hand and showing you how and what to do and help put tools in place to make your network marketing business successful.
Who are we at MLMWildfire? Check out Bruce and Melody here.
We appreciate your coming by. Please visit us at Our Face Book page and give us a “Like”
We encourage you to Subscribe to our You Tube Channel and get more great tools and learning.
We are dedicated to your network marketing success and if you’ll go to work, it will happen!
To Your Abundance,
Bruce & Melody Haines