Seeking the guidance and advice of friends, family and colleagues is a natural response to difficult situations. When it comes to legal matters, however, this tendency can result in misunderstandings that could cost you time and money. Finding the right source for legal counsel is essential to ensure the best possible outcomes for your situation. Here are some of the most commonly consulted and problematic sources for legal information.

Family Members

While members of your family may have your best interests at heart, they typically do not have the depth of experience or the knowledge needed to provide you with accurate legal information. In most cases, the advice provided by your family members will be anecdotal in nature and will represent only one case and one outcome. Your family may also misremember critical aspects of the case, resulting in mistakes and missteps on your part when attempting to represent yourself in the legal arena.


The same problems associated with family members also apply to friends who may offer advice for your legal problems. Some of the most common issues include the following:

• Failing to understand the complexities of the situation
• A lack of basic knowledge of the applicable laws
• A desire to make you happy by providing you with the most optimistic assessment of your legal situation
• A narrow range of experience that may not be relevant to your case

Although your friends can be a valuable source of moral support, they should not usually be a primary source for legal information.

Work Colleagues

Your colleagues at work may be sympathetic to your legal problems. Bringing up legal cases and asking for advice, however, is usually not appropriate in the working environment. If you would not share details of your medical issues with your co-workers, it is probably not a good idea to provide them with access to information about your legal matters. Keeping your own counsel on the job can help you to present a more professional image in the workplace and can allow you to avoid unwanted intrusions by those with whom you work on a regular or infrequent basis.

Online Forums

Online forums are one of the most common sources for misinformation for tech-savvy individuals. These forums may claim to be staffed by actual lawyers. In practice, however, the answers provided through online legal forums are questionable at best. Some of the most common issues with the advice given on legal forums include misrepresentation of credentials, lack of knowledge of the particular field of law and lack of experience in the relevant state.

• Forums that do not perform extensive vetting of the legal professionals on their sites can often be sources of significant misinformation for those seeking help with lawsuits and other legal affairs. Individuals with little or no training can pose as attorneys and provide false information and uninformed guidance that, if acted upon, could significantly and negatively affect the outcomes of cases. This can result in missed opportunities and, in some cases, could expose you and your company to increased liability in the legal system.

• Even attorneys who are currently licensed to practice law may not have the experience or the know-how in the particular field necessary to provide the right answers to online forum questions. Additionally, they may not be particularly motivated to perform research to answer questions for free in an online forum environment.

• Finally, attorneys who might otherwise be qualified to answer the questions posed on an online forum may not practice law in the state from which the question originated. This can lead to misunderstandings and outright mistakes on the part of the well-meaning attorneys and could result in serious consequences for you if you act on their legal advice.

Lawyers Who Practice Outside the Specialty or State

Attorneys who practice outside the state where the legal action is progressing or who do not specialize in the particular field of law in question may not have the right experience to provide you with the most accurate advice and counsel for your case. This can result in less effective representation and reduced chances of positive outcomes for your legal affairs.

Choosing an attorney who practices in your state and who is experienced in the field of law involved in your case can ensure that you receive the right guidance and counsel for your specific legal situation. Working with an attorney with proven experience and legal proficiency can ensure that your case is represented effectively both in and out of court. This can help you avoid serious issues that could arise if you receive and act on inaccurate legal advice on behalf of yourself or your company. If you require legal advice, call us today at 973-354-5783 for a consultation.

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