Are websites like avvo.com really good for seeking legal advice?
Many people these days go online to look for legal help. In turn, many lawyers realize that potential clients use Internet to look for legal help – and attorneys do advertise online. Websites like avvo.com are becoming very popular among lawyers and potential clients. Avvo.com can be generally described as an Internet forum where anybody can post a legal question and wait to see if a lawyer will answer that question on-line. Needless to say, that those questions and answers become visible to general public.
So, if you are hit with a legal issue in your life, is it wise to go online and ask your question at sites like avvo.com? Well, it may be a good first step, but chances are that you should probably speak to an attorney in private, if your situation is serious enough. Consider these points:
- Many legal situations are very fact-sensitive. This means that in order to better evaluate your case, an attorney may need to ask you many follow-up questions, which you may consider totally irrelevant, but answers to which can be very important for your specific case. Posting question at avvo.com often does not involve any follow-up questions and answers.
- Attorneys’ answers to your questions posted at avvo.com do not constitute legal advice: this is the policy of the company that runs the website. Most lawyers are very careful when answering those questions online – they emphasize that you should not rely on their general responses to your on-line questions. By posting an answer to your question, they may provide some general idea of what to expect if you go to court, and what kind of lawyer you should talk to.
- When posting your legal question at avvo.com, you are required to indicate your town and state. Note, that some lawyers, who answer question at avvo, are not even licensed to practice law in the state where the asker resides. This means that such lawyers may be ineligible to represent you in your state – they are just giving you some general idea about your question.
- Whatever you post online becomes public information, and, under certain circumstances, may be used against you in court. Therefore, you should be very careful when disclosing your private sensitive information on-line – in fact, you probably should notdisclose it to public at all!
In sum, while it may be good to use avvo.com as a starting point in looking forlegal help, it is probably wise not to rely on the website too much: you may want to meet and discuss your matter with an attorney in private.