How NOT to Ask for Free Advice; Tips for On-Line Lawyer Q&A

There are a number of free, on-line Q&A opportunities for unrepresented persons to pose general questions of law and have lawyers answers those questions.  This is really in the form of a public service and the responses do not create an attorney-client relationship, nor are they considered legal advice.  But, they do prove helpful. (Examples include; AVVO, Law Q A, LawGuru, LawZam, JustAnAnswer)

David Castillo Dominici/free digitalphotos.net

However, I have noticed several trends by Askers of the questions that result in no responses.  Below are just a few of “what not to say.”

  • DO NOT start the Question with “I am __ (age 13-17 ).
    • You won’t get a response if you are a young’un, and if you are older than that it probably is not a necessary fact for the Q&A.
  • DO NOT start the Question “I ain’t got no money, but….”
    • We already assume that. You’re posting on a free Q&A.
  • DO NOT start the Question with “My attorney said ____, but…
    • We know what you want (I want you to say what I wanted to hear, instead of what he said)…” We won’t.
  • DO NOT start the Question with “Don’t you attorneys have to do free cases or pro bono cases…”
    • We do, but it does not have to be your case.
  • DO NOT use ALL CAPS, ALL THE TIME. IT IS PERCEIVED AS YELLING, IS POOR SOCIAL INTERNET MANNERS AND MAKES IT MORE DIFFICULT AND PAINFUL TO READ YOUR QUESTIONS.
  • DO NOT use terrible grammar.  It’s not an English Composition exam, but it needs to be coherent.  Sentences should have a beginning AND an end.  There should be multiple sentences, but…
  • DO NOT write a novel.
  • DO NOT leave out necessary facts.
    • If you’re question is about how much child support you will receive  have an idea on the paying parent’s income.  If you don’t have an idea, how would the lawyer?
  • DO NOT ask the same question multiple times.

Finally, a free Q&A is not an excuse to not hire an attorney when you need one.  After all, the saying you get what you pay for comes from somewhere.

Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney in Mississippi and cautions those that use the free Q&A sites to be careful, you might get what you pay for.

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer Visit the website: Thompson Law Firm

You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@wmtlawfirm.com.

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