What Exactly Is “Legal Advice”?
It can be challenging to distinguish between “legal advice” and “legal information.” Generally, any non-lawyer may recite legal information, but only a lawyer can give accurate legal advice. Additionally, a non-lawyer or unlicensed attorney is often forbidden to provide legal counsel or act as another person’s advocate in court.
Legal advice, as opposed to legal information, refers to written or spoken guidance regarding a legal matter that would impact the rights and obligations of the person receiving the advice. Actual legal advice, as opposed to conjecture based on general facts, needs a detailed examination of the law regarding a person’s unique situation.
Legally speaking, offering legal counsel is the same as practicing law. Honest legal advice can only be given by a qualified attorney with whom a client forms an attorney-client relationship. The advise-giver also has outstanding obligations they must uphold because giving legal advice entails their commitments.
Anyone engaging in the unlicensed practice of law, consciously or inadvertently, is liable to legal repercussions because they lack the necessary knowledge, expertise, or credentials.
What Is Legal Counsel?
Family and friend advice is not legal counsel. A bond between an attorney and their client according to the specific legal issue the client’s faces is known as actual legal advice.
Briefly stated, legal counsel consists of the following elements:
It calls for legal expertise, information, education, and judgment.
It applies particular legal rules to a specific set of circumstances.
It has an impact on someone’s legal license or obligations.
It gives the one giving the advice obligations.
Legal advice suggests a particular course of action a client should follow, in contrast to legal information, such as information displayed on a street sign. For instance, there is a difference between giving someone legal advice and just instructing them what to do (legal info). Several legal cases of counsel include:
selecting, creating, or finishing legal documents or agreements that have an impact on a person’s legal rights
representing a person in front of a judge or other authority
negotiating for an individual’s rights or obligations under the law
speculating on how the client’s case will turn out
selecting or completing specific paperwork on a client’s behalf
Specific inquiries for legal counsel could be:
Do I need to declare bankruptcy?
Do I qualify for government help because of my disability?
What sort of compensation might I get for my accident?
Legal Counsel Is Not
Legal data, on the other hand, is factual and general and does not address any specific cause of action. Still, legal counsel is precise and direct and suggests a course of action. Websites and people frequently go to great lengths to clarify that nothing on their site should be taken as legal advice or as creating an attorney-client relationship to prevent the confusion that often results from access to legal material.
Examples that are not accurate legal advice include:
Information on the law gathered through free internet legal websites, such as an attorney or law firm’s website
Advice from close friends, relatives, or previous clients of a lawyer
a radio broadcast’s information
Information gleaned through social media platforms
information that you see on billboards or in magazines for news
even when they are given by an accredited lawyer, answers to legal queries posted on online discussion forums
printed resources mentioned in a “how-to” manual
Forms for legal “self-help.”
Questions about specific legal information could be:
The Family and Medical Leave Act contain what?
What is the legal BAC for driving while intoxicated in my state?
Which state has the strictest gun laws?
Determine your needs.
Depending on the circumstances, legal advice and legal information may be beneficial. While some cases, like bringing a lawsuit or fighting against criminal accusations, necessitate seeking legal counsel, other circumstances could call for doing so. For legal knowledge on a particular subject, visit FindLaw’s Learn About the Law section. Alternatively, you can look up a local attorney to consult with regarding a specific legal issue.