What Is Legal Advice?
Legal advice is when a licensed professional in the field, such as an attorney or a lawyer, offers their opinion on a particular legal situation. For this purpose, they will ask pertinent questions about you, review case settlements, research federal, state, and municipal regulations, and possibly seek advice from colleagues. A lawyer should fully understand your case before giving legal advice.
Every case is unique and each person’s situation is different. These lawyers will best be able to answer any questions you may have and to represent you if you are required to open a civil or criminal matter.
Short version of legal advice:
- An attorney licensed to provide written or oral counseling to a client.
- Your legal rights and responsibilities will be affected by the disclosure of your potentially private situation.
The attorney you are consulting has their own rights and responsibilities. They have to provide you with the best legal advice possible or refer you to another attorney if they aren’t the right person to help you. Sometimes, even though attorney-client privilege may not apply in certain cases, a lawyer might have to report to law enforcement what they hear. If your case involves serious injury or death, your lawyer may have a legal obligation (depending on your state) to report it to the proper people.
- The client is given a plan of action. It will depend on your particular situation.
- You can use your unique circumstances and specific laws to find a solution or direction.
Legal Information vs. Legal Advice
You may come across sources that claim they can provide legal advice. However, this is not the case. Here are the main differences:
Information about legal matters: Information about legal matters is more general and does not refer to any specific case. Even though they may not be an attorney, anyone can provide legal information. Legal information is often readily available to the public so that anyone can do their own research and find the right information.
Legal Advice: An attorney or judge is able to give legal advice. However, anyone with knowledge of a specific aspect of the law system may be able and able to give legal information.
It is important to distinguish between legal information and advice. Many sole practitioner lawyers and law firms have disclaimers on their websites. It may be stated that the website’s contents do not constitute legal advice. To receive legal advice, a consultation must be scheduled.
Why it is Important to Get Legal Advice
There are many different ways to interpret the law. If you are emotionally involved in a situation, your emotions can rise. Avoid taking on any potential harm yourself, and instead allow an expert to guide you on what to do next.
Sometimes you may feel lost in your own circumstances, or even confused. An experienced attorney can help you understand your situation and give you an honest answer.
Questions to Ask an Attorney when Getting Legal Advice
These are questions that you might ask an attorney you’ve approached for legal advice to make sure you feel confident in their ability to give the advice and represent your case later.
- Which laws apply in my case? Which laws apply to my case?
- What are your areas of expertise?
- What amount of experience do you have in cases like mine?
- How would you handle my case, if I had you represent me?
- What is the price for your service?
- Are you able to set a fee schedule for your services?
- Will you be the sole attorney in my case or will I be working with paralegals and legal assistants as well?
- Who is your typical customer?
- Is there another court option, such as arbitration, to resolve my situation?
- What is my likely outcome?
Where to find legal advice
Surprised to discover that there are many resources available to you for legal advice. Low-income people and their families have many options for legal advice. This is because many lawyers offer free legal aid services to help those who can’t afford it.
You can also go to
American Bar Association This free online legal advice clinic allows qualified users (usually low-income) to post legal questions and receive an answer from a volunteer attorney from their state. You don’t have to use their service if you do not intend to engage them as long-term counsel. These attorneys will only answer questions relating to civil court cases. Criminal cases will need to go to a lawyer.
Legal Help: This website provides information and guidance to help you find free legal aid programs in your locality. You can browse the publicly available information for topics such as debt collection and family law if you’re looking to get started slowly.
State Consumer Protection Office This agency assists the public in resolving consumer issues in your state. They can assist with your consumer rights, resolve complaints, and investigate. However, they can’t represent you against a company.
Law Schools: It is not uncommon for local law schools and universities to host legal clinics free of charge that the public can participate in. Law students are available to offer free legal aid and are always supervised in their work by professors.
Legal Services Corporation, (LSC: LSC) was created by Congress in 1974. It provides financial support to legal aid organizations across the nation to continue their services to their community.
Reddit Reddit. Reddit has an online forum and discussion platform, with a popular section at r/legaladvice. The site is managed by a team moderators. Although the forum clearly states that moderators do not give legal advice but this could be a resource you can use to get started.
Legal advice is available for certain groups. Veterans and enrolled members of the military can receive assistance from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Americans who have disabilities can contact National Disability Rights Network. Seniors may also find legal services to help with eldercare. Those with pensions can contact Pension Rights Center for advice.
Individuals and organizations that offer legal aid to those who receive public benefits, such as Medicaid, food stamps, welfare, and social security, may be able help.
As you can see legal advice should not be taken lightly. It doesn’t really matter if you are looking for an attorney to help with a civil dispute or to draft a legal agreement.