Do-it-yourself software company LegalZoom soon may have the go-ahead to sell its products in North Carolina. However, many North Carolina attorneys, particularly those in the real estate field, say LegalZoom’s software doesn’t provide consumers with adequate safeguards.

Womble Carlyle attorney Hunter Edwards, the current Chair of the Real Estate Lawyers Association of North Carolina (RELANC), spoke about the issue with the Charlotte Business Journal.

“Unfortunately, real estate practitioners have been painted as the protectionist bad guys in the case, but we want to be partners in crafting legislation that is beneficial to consumers,” Edwards said.

He noted that, “If I create an error representing you, you can sue me and my malpractice insurance provides a remedy to you. Attorneys are subject to ethics rules of the state bar and can be disciplined and disbarred.” However, LegalZoom isn’t subject to these same penalties and consumer protections.

The North Carolina General Assembly currently is reviewing legislation that would enable LegalZoom to do business in the state. The legislation grew out a settlement of a $10.5 million antitrust lawsuit that LegalZoom filed against the North Carolina State Bar. Edwards told the Charlotte Business Journal that this is problematic, since the legislation was created to resolve a legal dispute and not because it was in the best interests of consumers.

Hunter Edwards regularly represents real estate developers, individuals, and other businesses in all aspects of complex commercial and residential development projects, including residential subdivisions, shopping centers, multi-family developments, and condominiums. He has experience documenting and closing commercial real estate transactions, negotiating commercial leases, reviewing and curing title issues, revising and amending development restrictions and agreements, and obtaining permanent financing solutions for his clients. Edwards practices in Womble Carlyle’s Charlotte office.