Nolo Celebrates 40 Years of ‘Law for All’

New Owner, New Plans for Consumer Law Online

BERKELEY, Calif.—(May 10, 2011)—Nolo, the nation’s original publisher of do-it-yourself legal books, was just getting started in 1971— a time when many Americans were questioning authority, including the legal establishment. Forty years later, Nolo now provides most of its information and products online, but the company’s commitment to demystifying the law is stronger than ever. Nolo’s books, software, online legal tools and legal forms have helped Americans save more than $1 billion in legal fees since 1971.

Nolo was co-founded by law-for-all pioneers Ralph (Jake) Warner and Charles (Ed) Sherman, who worked as legal aid lawyers helping low-income families in the San Francisco area. Other residents of their Berkeley cooperative housing community helped to type up their first books. After rejections from traditional publishers, Warner and Sherman quickly self-published books on DIY divorce and tenants’ rights—both of which are still in print.

Nolo’s efforts to make America's legal system more democratic and affordable have had a far-reaching influence on the legal system. Some highlights:

  • Introducing Quicken WillMaker, which has sold over two million copies and saved Americans more than $800 million in legal fees since the 1980s.
  • Creating one of the first consumer-oriented legal websites, offering extensive free legal information, online document preparation and downloadable books, forms, and software.
  • Launching a lawyer directory, to help consumers and small businesses find lawyers who respect their efforts to educate themselves about their legal concerns.
  • Encouraging courts to welcome and provide in-person help to people without lawyers
  • Empowering ordinary people to learn about and participate in their legal system.

“Our idea has always been a simple one: give people clear, reliable legal information and let them get on with the job,” said Warner.

In 2006, Nolo created a unique, consumer-focused online lawyer directory offering in-depth profiles of local lawyers. “When people read Nolo information, they feel good, empowered, educated. And when they need help from an attorney, we want to help them find someone in their community who is as passionate about offering them affordable help as we are,” said John Plessas, Vice President of Nolo’s Lawyer Directory.

Last week, Nolo was acquired by new media company Internet Brands, which will combine Nolo operations with those of ExpertHub (, Internet Brands' existing legal-focused division, to create a dominant player in the online legal category. The combined operation, under the Nolo brand, will attract millions of monthly visitors to domains including,, and many more.

As part of the Internet Brands family, Nolo’s key initiatives include expanding its lead as the best consumer legal publisher and investing strongly in the digital parts of the business.

“Internet Brands understands the value of top-notch content,” added Warner. “Nolo needed to be part of a bigger enterprise going forward, and we found it with Internet Brands.
We’re excited that Nolo will continue to thrive."


Media Contacts:
Desiree Stephens

Andrea Burnett
Andrea Burnett PR

About Nolo ( For 40 years Nolo has been passionate about making the law accessible to everyone. Their high-quality books, software, legal forms, and online lawyer directory have helped millions of people find answers to their everyday legal and business questions. Connect with Nolo on Facebook ( and Twitter @NoloLaw.

About Internet Brands

Headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., Internet Brands ( is a new media company that operates online media, community, and e-commerce websites in vertical markets. The company also develops and licenses Internet software and social media applications. In its Consumer Internet Division, Internet Brands owns and operates more than 200 principal websites in seven categories. The company currently attracts, on average, more than 79 million unique visitors per month viewing 715 million pages, with 97% of the network's audience originating from organic, non-paid sources.