Explaining Southern California's economy

LegalZoom IPO: Be afraid, lawyers! Be very afraid!


LegalZoom just filed for an IPO, hoping to raise $120 million.

Glendale's own LegalZoom filed for an IPO on Friday. Okay, so it's not quite Facebookian in value. Whereas Zuck & Co. are aiming to raise $5 or $10 billion, LegalZoom, which has been around since 1999 (making it about 3000 years old, in Internet years) wants to bring in only $120 million. But don't be fooled by that seemingly modest valuation for a company that's been around since the halcyon days of Web 1.0. LegalZoom could be poised to partake in one of the most significant disruptions American business has ever seen.

The legal professional is being totally re-arranged by the economic downturn. Law firms have imploded. Law school grads — who used to be able to bank on fat salaries in exchange for 100-hour work weeks at big firms, if they attended top programs (and they needed the big bucks to pay off their hulking loans) — are struggling to find jobs. Law is no longer the often-boring but generally reliably lucrative escape hatch it once was for decades of career-confused liberal arts majors.