FreeAdvice Answers FAQ

FAQs for the FreeAdvice® Answers Service

(Beta Version of March 21, 2009)


What is FreeAdvice Answers™?

This is a new a feature of FreeAdvice.com that allows consumers to ask a general legal question and get back an answer from a lawyer or other legal professional, FREE in selected legal topics. It is now in BETA (test) format.

Do I have to register?

Currently you do not have to register with FreeAdvice.com. Once you question has been answered, we will notify you that an answer has been posted via email and provide you with a link to a webpage with one or more answers to your question.

How do I ask a Question?

It’s real simple. From the homepage or anywhere else where you see a “FreeAdvice Answers” ASK A LAWYER? box you can type in a question:
  • Just type your legal question in the box. We suggest you break your question down, separating the general issue from the details. (Such as “Who should pay my medical bills?” and the more detailed “I was a passenger in a car that got into an accident. I have private health insurance. Which insurance company should pay my hospital and doctor bills – my health insurer, my driver’s insurance company, or the other driver’s insurance company?)
  • Please keep things short. Do NOT use personal or company names or other personally identifiable information in your posting.
  • Provide your email address, zip code and pick the closest category of law using the drop down button. Don’t force it as if your question is in a topic not on the list, we will not be able to get you an answer.
  • Please review and acknowledge you agree with the “Terms of Use” and click on the “Ask” button to submit your question.
  • Once you’ve submitted your question, it will be monitored by FreeAdvice’s staff and then routed to pre-screened lawyers who will answer your question.
  • We will alert you by email and direct you to a page to read the answer each time a new answer has been posted in response to your question.<
What questions can I ask? How to ask good questions?

The service is designed to answer serious legal questions in selected topics only. This is not the venue to post personal problems, relationship issues, or venting.

Be clear in what you mean. Write in grammatical English. Not chat/text-speak or slang. Keep your question on topic--short, concise, with enough background information to give the lawyer an understanding where you are coming from. The attorney can not spend his/her time reading essays, diatribes or guessing what you had in mind.

Please keep it PG-rated. We delete or edit posts, without notice, that do not comply.

How can I edit my question?

Currently you cannot edit or remove your post. Once it’s up, it’s up. So don’t ask or include something you may later regret.

Who answers my questions?

We notify several experienced, pre-screened lawyers who match your geographic area and/or topic listed with our affiliate www.AttorneyPages.com. Interested attorneys generally reply. (These attorneys are NOT serving as your attorney, and they are NOT providing you with legal advice or a legal opinion upon which you may rely. Further, the response may be from an attorney not licensed in your state.) In some instances we may permit inquiries to be answered by legal professionals (such as a law school graduate or para-legal) who are not lawyers; in such cases we will have verified the person’s credentials and the reply will make it clear the person answering the question is not an attorney in any jurisdiction.

What if my question does not get any answers?

Among the most common reasons a question is not answered is that it is too specific or involves an arcane topic, or is confusing, frivolous, off-topic, idle curiosity, contains off-color language, seems theoretical, or is just too long or convoluted. If attorneys don’t think they can help you quickly, they will move on. Be brief and straightforward. And be patient. You’re not the only one asking a question.

What does it cost and is there any obligation?

This is a free service; there is no cost to post or obligation to use the lawyer who provides a response. Bear in mind, the FreeAdvice Answers service is not a substitute for consulting with an attorney you select and retain who is licensed in your state. You should not use the advice given or make decisions about your legal issue based on the responses you receive through FreeAdvice Answers.

Is there any limit on how often I can use this service?

Yes. This service is designed to help a large number of people with general information about the law. It is not a substitute for retaining a lawyer to represent you and answer your many questions. Persons asking repetitive questions are likely to be ignored and may be blocked from the site.

When will I receive an answer? How will I know when my question has been answered?

You will get an email every time an attorney responds. A response may be immediate or come a few hours or days later. You will be directed to a page to read the answers. Please be patient, especially on weekends and around holidays.

Can I rely on the answer given to make a legal decision?

NO! The information given is not and should never be regarded as legal advice or a legal opinion, even if the reply is coming from an attorney licensed in your state.

In order to provide legal advice or a legal opinion or legal information on which you can rely, any attorney would require far more information about the facts and circumstances involved than this service can possibly provide. There are often no simple answers to seemingly simple questions as the law is very complex, and riddled with general rules, exceptions to the general rules, and exceptions to the exceptions. One minor item could totally change an answer. Further, to serve as your attorney and provide an opinion or legal advice any attorney would need to make sure there are no conflicts of interest, such as with other clients the attorney and/or his or her firm currently represents or may have represented in the past. Thus any answer, information or response, whether provided by an attorney or anyone else on FreeAdvice Answers, is provided on an “AS IS” basis.

Can I retain an attorney who has answered my question?

When an attorney responds, you will usually find a detailed Attorney Profile page linked to or alongside his or her reply if the attorney is willing to take on new clients.

The profile page generally provides a snapshot of the lawyer or law firm, his or her experience, practice areas, track record, and other information. You can click on the attorney profile, pick the attorney that fits you, and contact via phone or email.

Please note that the attorney will NOT provide you with free advice. While the attorney may be willing to provide a free initial consultation, he or she will typically do so only if you are ready and able to become a real, “paying” client of the firm.

Also, please be aware that the attorney is under no obligation to take your case, even if you are willing to retain the lawyer. Several things need to happen, the first and foremost is a conflict check with existing and prior clients of the firm, and then entering into a written retainer agreement.

What if the Attorney Profile page does not have the attorney’s name or contact information?

When an attorney or other legal professional is willing to answer questions and provide general legal information as a public service but is unwilling to identify him or herself we may create a special Profile Page that omits the name and other information about the attorney or professional.

We regularly do that with FreeAdvice’s staff attorneys, and we also do that on request for other attorneys. For example, the attorneys may be law professors, judges, members of corporate legal departments, government attorneys, attorneys in non-profit and other organizations, retired attorneys or others unwilling to be publicly identified yet capable of contributing to FreeAdvice Answers. As they are not seeking, unable and/or unwilling to take on new clients or require privacy, we protect their identity.

In each such instance FreeAdvice Answers (or its outside counsel) will nonetheless have verified the person’s qualifications displayed on the profile page and make an appropriate notification on the person’s Profile.

How can I remove my question from the view of the general public?

Asking a question on this service creates a public record of it and the responses you receive. In other words, your questions are not private and the responses you receive are not confidential and available to anyone with an internet connection.

All questions you pose and answers you receive become the property of Advice Company, which operates FreeAdvice.com. While we may consider a polite email request to remove your posting, we are under no obligation to do so. Our advice: never post anything that you would not like seen around the world.

Will my question and response be used on the site?

Questions and answers on FreeAdvice Answers are generally displayed to the public and are not confidential information. Advice Company may use the content of the question, verbatim or modified, as it sees fit, whether to create content in other areas of the FreeAdvice.com site, or syndicate or sell it. We will NOT generally publicly display personally identifiable information, such as email address, IP address, name, phone number, and so forth, except to prevent or deter what we regard as abuse to our site or abuse or harm directed at third parties, or as compelled to so by or pursuant to law.

Where do I find Ask a Lawyer Terms of Use?

You can read the Terms of Use by clicking on this link.

What if the answer leaves me as confused as before?

If the response you get is not clear or understandable, think about it, do some research, or wait for some possible follow-up responses, or retain a lawyer.

What do I have to do once my question has been answered?

If you are satisfied with an answer and realize that you need legal assistance, you may retain one of the attorneys who answered your question. Click on the Profile Page of the attorney and contact him or her by phone or email.