We have all been hammering home that we should not give legal advice and that this is an unlawful exercise of the law, a criminal offence. However, we are probably all guilty of crossing this line occasionally, often unintentionally, in our efforts to provide good service to our customers. Originally published in the Texas Paralegal Journal © Copyright Paralegal Division, Texas State Bar. In some countries, legal advice depends on the possession of a specific licence; In others, it is simply subject to the general regulation of professional obligations and can be provided by any person, who is usually legally responsible for the advice offered. The UK`s Legal Services Act 2007 covers legal advice as part of the definition of unrestricted legal activities, meaning that it can be provided by any person and not just by a judicial official.  However, if provided by a lawyer or other person authorized by one of the front-line legal services regulators, this activity falls within their regulatory scope.  If you need additional help with your legal matter, you should consult a qualified and licensed lawyer. A lawyer can help you navigate complex legal issues and advise you on the best course of action, whether it`s litigation, informal settlement negotiations, or a settlement claim. If you are sued or believe you need to sue someone for a contentious legal issue, a lawyer can help. Sometimes when the client asks me a question, I know exactly what the lawyer`s answer will be. However, I never give the information to the client without consulting the lawyer. I can then tell the client that the lawyer told him to give him certain information.
To remember this, I only have to imagine the lawyer on the witness stand answering questions about this particular exchange with the client. While none of us will remember it later, I want the lawyer to be able to say that I have always been in the habit of consulting with him and then passing on information to the client that makes it clear that this is something he asked me to tell the client to do. This legal term article is a heel. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it. This tip sheet explains some of the key differences between legal information and legal advice.  Narrow advice may be of little value to a client, especially if practical considerations such as cost or impact on others prevail. Purely technical legal advice can therefore sometimes be insufficient. It is appropriate for a lawyer to refer to relevant moral and ethical considerations when giving advice. Although a lawyer is not a moral adviser as such, moral and ethical considerations affect most legal issues and can have a decisive influence on how the law is applied. Unlike legal information, legal advice refers to written or oral legal assistance in a legal case that would infringe the rights and obligations of the person receiving the advice. In addition, real legal advice requires careful analysis of the law as it applies to a person`s particular situation – as opposed to speculation based on general facts.
Persons who provide legal advice, voluntarily or unknowingly, without having the skill, judgment or authority to do so, are essentially engaged in unauthorized legal practice and are therefore subject to judicial sanctions. Here are some questions you may want to ask a lawyer you`ve asked for legal advice so you can feel comfortable in their position to give the advice and represent you later: While there may be times when this rule of thumb can be applied too strictly, it`s a great way to judge whether what you`re saying or doing could be interpreted as legal advice. If you are looking for legal advice, you may see sources claiming to provide legal information, which is not the same thing. Here are the main differences between the two: Legal advice is when a licensed legal professional, such as a lawyer, gives their opinion on a particular legal situation you may find yourself in. To do this, they`ll likely ask you relevant questions about your situation, possibly consult law books and comparisons of previous cases, consult federal, state, or local regulations, and even seek input from their peers. It is important that a lawyer fully understands your particular case before offering legal advice. I recently came across a quote that seemed to provide a good dividing line between legal advice and answering a client`s questions: Examples that do not constitute actual legal advice: Legal advice is written or oral advice about a legal issue that affects the responsibilities and rights of the person receiving it. This often requires careful knowledge and analysis of the law. Legal advice is an essential function of the lawyer and is synonymous with the practice of law.
Legal advice requires legal training and knowledge and affects the legal rights of the recipient. It also creates a solicitor-client relationship. Depending on the situation, legal advice and information may be helpful. While some situations require the advice of a lawyer – such as filing a lawsuit or defending criminal charges – other situations may simply warrant obtaining legal information. Read the definitions of areas of practice for legal information on a specific topic or look for a lawyer in your area for legal advice on a specific legal issue. Examples of legal advice include drafting legal documents or contracts that affect an individual`s rights, representing a person in court or in a legal matter, negotiating a client`s rights, and advising an individual on specific legal issues. Never inform a client or other person of a matter if the advice could change the legal situation or legal rights of the person to whom the advice is given.1 If you receive public benefits, such as welfare, food stamps, Social Security, or Medicaid, you may be able to find legal help from organizations and individuals who volunteer to provide their services. Legal advice is different from legal information, which is the repetition of legal facts.  Legal information may be provided by means of a parking meter, sign or other forms of notice, such as a warning from an enforcement officer. From a legal point of view, legal advice is synonymous with the practice of law, and only a licensed lawyer with whom a legal relationship has been entered into can give real legal advice. Due to the obligations arising from the provision of such legal advice, the adviser is also bound by certain rights and obligations on the basis of the information provided. While legal advice is specific, direct, suggesting a course of action, legal information, on the other hand, is factual, generic, and does not address a specific cause of action.
To avoid the confusion that often accompanies legal information, websites and individuals often go to great lengths to clarify that any information contained on their website should not be construed as legal advice or enter into an attorney-client relationship. Legal advice is the provision of professional or formal advice on the content or procedure of the law in relation to a particular factual situation. Legal advice often involves analyzing a number of facts and advice to a person on how to take a particular course of action based on applicable law.   Some cities offer free legal advice to certain people, depending on the legal situation. For example, tenants in San Francisco can get free legal advice from various legal aid services regarding landlord-tenant issues.