Harland saw a need and created a solution that has helped protect millions of individuals.
ADA, Okla., Nov. 10, 2015 (PRWEB) November 10, 2015
Today marks the inaugural LegalShield “Harland C. Stonecipher Day,” created to celebrate the accomplishments, legacy and memory of Stonecipher, founder of LegalShield, who passed away this day in 2014.
Oklahoma dignitaries and guests including Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby, Congressman Tom Cole, State Sen. Susan Paddack, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak, officials from East Central University, family and friends of Stonecipher, and LegalShield employees will gather at 4:00 p.m. CST in the company’s headquarters, a building designed and constructed under Stonecipher’s leadership.
Stonecipher spent the majority of his life determined that everyone would have equal justice under the law, and in 2003 expanded his focus to ensure that an individual’s identity is theirs and theirs alone. Stonecipher grew up in Centrahoma, Oklahoma, and attended Tupelo Schools before being the first in his family to attend college. He graduated from East Central State College in Ada, Oklahoma in 1959. In 1969, he was involved in an automobile accident, which even though was not his fault, nearly left him in financial ruin. It was then that he created Pre-Paid Legal Services in 1972, which is now LegalShield. Today, LegalShield, continues Stonecipher’s mission by providing legal protection to more than 3.7 million individuals and identity monitoring and restoration services to more than a million people across North America.
Stonecipher often commented he “would’ve given up on the company if he had known how broke he was,” but with the help of his wife, Shirley, he saw his idea grow from a single-room operation to being listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Stonecipher felt strongly about keeping his company in his home state and in rural Oklahoma, as he believed his staff had a work ethic he wouldn't find anywhere else. The company now with offices in Ada, Antlers and Duncan, Oklahoma, Richardson, Texas and New York City directly employs more than 700 people and supports a direct-selling network team of more than 280,000. In addition, the LegalShield provider and referral network employs more than 9,500 people; Legal Shield’s identity restoration partner employs dozens of licensed private investigators and support staff dedicated to providing services for IDShield. The company sold for more than $650 million in 2011.
“Harland was a truly an innovator, way ahead of his time,” said Jeff Bell, CEO of LegalShield. “Decades before ‘disruptive economy’ and ‘collaborative consumption’ entered the vernacular, Harland created a new business model that enabled people to access lawyers without worrying about the clock, by aligning provider law firms and members around the same goal: finding a fast, efficient, and effective resolution to legal matters.”
Bell continued, “He was adamant that everyone have good legal representation. He would tell his employees to go sit in the local courthouse to watch the proceedings. His point was he wanted to illustrate that, many times, a defendant would not see or know his/her lawyer until the judge called his name. That, he said, is how the court-appointed attorney found their client -- literally right in front of the judge. No one, he said, should have that type of representation. ‘They may deserve to be thrown under the jail for what they did,’ he said. ‘But they deserved better representation.’ Harland saw a need and created a solution that has helped protect millions of individuals.”
Stonecipher became an icon in the legal service plan industry. In 2000, he helped pen his own story, “The Pre-Paid Legal Story,” and shared the history of his company and his vision for affordable legal protection for everyone. He was named Ernst & Young’s Southwest Master Entrepreneur of the Year in 2002.
That same year, he accepted the Line in the Sand award from the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce, in recognition of Pre-Paid Legal’s stand against frivolous lawsuits. In 2005, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reappointed Harland Stonecipher to a two-year term on its 100-person board of directors. In 2006, he was named as the Distinguished Entrepreneur of Oklahoma. His alma mater, East Central University, recognized him as Distinguished Alumnus in 1987. He and Shirley would later bestow a gift to the university leading to the naming of the Harland C. Stonecipher School of Business.
To continue the spirit of Mr. Stonecipher’s leadership, passion, and lifelong desire to promote and foster entrepreneurship, LegalShield is creating the Harland C. Stonecipher Entrepreneurial Spirit Award to recognize individuals who contribute to the improvement of communities and the quality of life for others through their vision, commitment, courage and hard work. Details about the award will be announced early 2016.
“We are proud of our heritage set by Harland Stonecipher’s own entrepreneurial spirit that built the company we know today”, said Bell. “The best is yet to come, we look forward to continuing to help protect individuals, create opportunity and make a positive difference in the world.”
LegalShield is one of the nation’s leading providers of legal safeguards for individuals, families, and small businesses. The company also offers one of the industry’s most affordable and comprehensive identity theft plans, IDShield.
LegalShield plans provide protection to more than 3.7 million individuals and IDShield provides identity monitoring and restoration services to more than a million individuals across North America. More than 34,000 companies offer the LegalShield and IDShield plans to their employees as a voluntary benefit.
For as low as $20 per month, LegalShield members get access to attorneys with an average of 19 years of experience in such areas as family matters, estate planning, financial and business issues, consumer protection, tax, real estate, benefits disputes and auto/driving issues. Unlike other legal plans or do-it-yourself websites, LegalShield has dedicated law firms in 49 states and four provinces in Canada that members can call for help without having to worry about high hourly rates.
For as low as $9.95 a month, IDShield monitors consumers’ identities, including their social security number, credit cards, and bank accounts; as well as their names, address, date of birth, driver’s license and passport numbers, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and medical identification numbers. If a member’s status changes, the member receives an e-mail update. If a member spots suspicious or fraudulent activity, he or she can contact a licensed private investigator immediately and begin restoring his or her identity. IDShield offers the only team of licensed private investigators in the consumer identity restoration industry.
In the past 12 months, LegalShield has relaunched its digital properties, LegalShield.com, IDShield.com, Opportunity.LegalShield.com, and Business.LegalShield.com. The company has created three new mobile applications, Ask LegalShield, My LegalShield and My IDShield. Additionally, in April of this year, the company acquired the assets of Shake, LLC. Shake's team brings with it a track record of successful, intuitive design in the legal field. The original Shake app, which allows users to create, sign, send, and manage legally binding contracts from their smartphones, was named one of Business Insider's Top 11 Apps to Watch in 2014.