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Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. & Subsidiaries
Type Public (NYSEPPD)
Founded 1972
Headquarters Ada, Oklahoma
Key people Harland Stonecipher (founder, CEO, chairman)
Industry legal insurance
Products Legal services, Identity theft restoration
Revenue $461M
Employees 813 Full Time

Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. NYSEPPD is a corporation that offers specialized insurance and legal service products in the United States and Canada. The firm was founded on August 8, 1972, it made its initial public offering in 1984. Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. is a member of the S&P 600 SmallCap index and the S&P 1500 Super Comp index.


Company description

Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. develops, underwrites and markets pre-paid legal services plans through a network of more than 50 independent law firms across the U.S. and Canada. The Company also markets an identity theft monitoring and restoration services. Currently most of the company's products are sold through the network marketing system (also known as multi-level marketing). Products are also sold as an employee benefit through payroll deduction.


Today, Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. has its headquarters on in Ada, Oklahoma, in the same town that the Founder, Harland C. Stonecipher was born. The company owns several subsidiaries. Pre-Paid Legal Casualty, Inc. operates in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Montana, Nebraska, Tennessee, & Wisconsin. There are 3 subsidiaries that serve individual states: Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. of Florida, National Pre-Paid Legal Services of Mississippi,Inc. and Legal Service Plans of Virginia, Inc. PPL Legal Care of Canada Corporation operates in the Country of Canada.


Pre-Paid Legal Services began on July 11, 1969 when CEO and founder Harland C. Stonecipher was involved in a motor vehicle accident, when an person traveling in the opposite direction, crossed into his lane. He was hospitalized and in severe condition. During his stay, the medical expenses were covered through his pre-paid medical insurance. The automobile he was operating was covered through his pre-paid auto insurance. During his recovery he was astonished to find out the party in the accident, who was sighted for being at fault in the accident, had prepared to filed a suit against him for the accident. Not having a choice but hire a lawyer to stand a chance in court, he did so. In doing so, however, extinguished the saving he had accrued working 2 separate jobs. During this ordeal he knew their had to be another way to protect his rights. He began researching the industry of European legal expense plans. On August 8, 1972, Harland Stonecipher created Pre-Paid Legal’s predecessor, The Sportsman’s Motor Club, offering legal expense reimbursement services as a motor service club. Pre-Paid Legal started selling plans through network marketing in 1983. Pre-Paid Legal went public on the NASDAQ National Market System in 1984, and two years later moved to the American Stock Exchange.

In 1997, after a FTC investigation, Pre-Paid Legal admitted misleading customers and suspended sales of living trusts.[1] On May 13, 1999, Pre-Paid Legal moved to the New York Stock Exchange, and within four months was listed as the 33rd fastest growing company on the NYSE, according to Equities Magazine.

In 2000, Pre-Paid Legal made the Forbes list of the 200 Best Small Companies in America for the fifth year in a row. In 2001, the Wyoming Attorney General classified Pre-Paid Legal as a "multi-level marketing" organization and won refunds for multiple customers who were defrauded by misleading earnings claims.[2][3] Pre-Paid Legal has faced ongoing troubles in Missouri. After the company settled complaints in 2001, a number of similar suits arose. The company won in a jury trial against two plaintiffs,[4] but later settled with more than 400 others, including one customer who was awarded $9.9 million. The company, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce of which Pre-Paid Legal CEO Harland Stonecipher is a director,[5] have described the lawsuits against the company as "frivolous" and "abusive".[6]

Pre-Paid Legal reported to the SEC that under 25% of its sales representatives sold more than one insurance plan in 2005, but avoids reporting such information to prospective sales representatives.[1] In the same article, from the New York Times the Times reported that in 2005 a Mississippi jury awarded a Pre-Paid customer $9.9 million over claims of deceptive marketing.

In 2007, Pre-Paid Legal made the Forbes list of the 200 Best Small Companies in America again. The company currently provides services in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and five provinces in Canada, with over 1.7 million members. Currently most plans are sold through the network marketing system (also known as multi-level marketing). It is also sold as an employee benefit through payroll deduction.

In October 2009, Tulsa World reported that Pre-Paid Legal have been subpoenaed by the SEC for various documents including those pertaining to a stock repurchase program that Pre-Paid has had since April 1999. The SEC reported that thus far it is a "fact finding" mission.[7]

On November 19, 2009, Pre-Paid Legal announced that it received a complaint from the Federal Trade Commission. The proposed draft complaint alleged that Pre-Paid's "ADRS program and related materials violate Section 5(a) of the FTC Act regarding asserted misleading representations, express or implied."[8]


  1. ^ a b DUHIGG, CHARLES (November 13, 2006). "Why Short Sellers Want to Crash the Tupperware Party". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-10-24.  
  2. ^ "Shurtleff's fundraising trounces Hill's | Deseret News (Salt Lake City) Newspaper | Find Articles at BNET". 2008-10-30. Retrieved 2009-10-23.  
  3. ^ "newell letter" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-10-23.  
  4. ^ By Melissa Davis (2004-10-20). "Pre-Paid Prevails in Mississippi Case | Melissa Davis | Financial Articles & Investing News". Retrieved 2009-10-23.  
  5. ^ "U.S. Chamber of Commerce - June 27 - U.S Chamber Reappoints Harland Stonecipher, CEO of Pre-Paid Legal Services, to Board of Directors". 2005-06-27. Retrieved 2009-10-23.  
  6. ^ "U.S. Chamber of Commerce - Nov 24 - Chamber Joins Miss. Case against Frivolous Lawsuits Pre-Paid Legal Services Targeted Improperly". 2004-11-24. Retrieved 2009-10-23.  
  7. ^ "SEC asks Pre-Paid Legal for documents". Tulsa World. Retrieved 2009-10-23.  
  8. ^ "Pre-Paid Legal Services Announces FTC Developments". Pre-Paid Legal Services date=. Retrieved 2009-11-19.  

Further reading

External links



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