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How many hours should it take a lawyer to draft a terms of service document for a start up web based company?

Bellevue, WA |

I'm attempting to get a better idea of costs, and I just wanted to get a ballpark figure for a terms of service, acceptable use or similar document.

Attorney Answers 7


  1. It is difficult to guess without any knowledge about what services your company will be offering. There are lots of Seattle/Bellevue business attorneys (my firm included) who will offer you a free consultation to discuss your business model and offer a ballpark on how long we think it might take.

    Legal disclaimer: I am licensed to practice law in the state of Washington and the answer provided above is for general information purposes only and should not be relied on as specific legal advice. This answer does not form an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with an attorney of your choice to fully advise you about your legal rights and obligations.


  2. In addition to hourly fees, there are several business law firms in the area that offer flat fees or project based fees which will allow you to understand your legal costs in advance. Our firm offers flat fees for most projects and would be happy to meet with you to discuss your needs and provide you with a quote for our services.


  3. This is a difficult question to answer without knowing more about your business and the nature of the service provided, who are the parties to the agreement, how much of your agreement is already developed in your concept, are there any regulations affecting the service area you are serving, are there other holes in your business plan that you are looking to the attorney to fill in for you. It could be as simple as 3-5 hours or as complex as a few thousand hours.

    This response does not create a lawyer client relationship. Each case is determined on its specific facts and this reply is intended for a general audience and facts particular to your case may affect the answer. Consult with an attorney in person for specific answers to your questions.


  4. You received good advice here. There is frankly no way to answer your question. As some others noted, we handle these matters on a flat-fee basis that will cap at some maximum amount of time to protect both lawyer and client from run-away project.

    That said, in most cases and because we handle so much of this type of matter we can estimate the time needed very accurately, but issues do come up. For example, no one realized that there was some compliance issue involved because of a contest the client wants to operate on their site but never said anything until we started drafting. This would likely require us to increase the time commitment.

    I suggest you reach out to several lawyers and get a good sense for how they price and even more importantly for how they respond to your questions and whether they seem to get your project. Most of us here, including myself, offer a free phone consult.

    Best regards,
    Frank
    Natoli-Lapin, LLC
    (see Disclaimer)

    The law firm of Natoli-Lapin, LLC (Home of Lantern Legal Services) offers our flat-rate legal services in the areas of business law and intellectual property to entrepreneurs, small-to-medium size businesses, independent inventors and artists across the nation and abroad. Feel free to call for a free phone consultation; your inquiries are always welcome: CONTACT: 866-871-8655 Support@LanternLegal.com DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed on the basis of this posting.


  5. Unfortunately, as with many legal questions, the answer is "it depends."

    I've spent many hours drafting Terms of Service for a larger company that had a lot riding on the legal aspects of the web-based service it was launching, and a lot less time for a non-profit organization that just needed some basic CYA for their relatively straightforward website.

    If you're interested, I'd be happy to offer an initial consultation to discuss your needs and, based on such consultation, propose a flat fee rate for terms of service and a privacy policy.

    Good luck!

    I am an attorney, but I am not YOUR attorney. By providing free, generalized information, I am not entering into an attorney/client relationship with you, nor am I providing legal advice applicable to your particular needs.


  6. Ballpark $2,000 to $2,000,000 depending whether you are a T-shirt iron company on etsy or a new major store planning a monster launch to compete with Amazon.com. I mean, really you gotta give us more information than that to get a decent answer, and few of us are going to give you exact estimates here on Avvo. Lawyers publish minimum prices often, but can't put a cap on prices without seeing the amount of work. It's like going to an all-brand car dealer and saying give me a ballpark for a car - what, a golfcart or a Lamborghini?

    I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.


  7. If dollars are tight then I suggest you find 5-6 companies on the internet (s an example) that already do what you plan on doing and review their respective TOS that will give you a sense of the components that make up the document as you will see a similar format for many aspects as this is a fairly routine and mostly boilerplate disclosure. You can construct your own making edits where appropriate to get it to the point where you can hand it off to an attorney and have them spend a few hours either editing or commenting on your work effort. This one aspect is not that complicated if you have a good model to provide you proper context. You will also want to couple the TOS with a privacy policy as well.

    My answer is not intended to be giving legal advice and this topic can be a complex area where the advice of a licensed attorney in your State should be obtained.

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