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