Dividing line on legal advice?

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jun 16, 2010 in The 2L Life

I know better than to ask a question where “It depends” is the likely response, but I figured I’d ask anyway: is there a useful dividing line for a law student to follow when it comes to legal advice and making sure you don’t give it?

Over the past 24ish hours I’ve had two friends independently ask me questions on legal issues (one wage-related, the other domestic violence-related). I’ve offered my $.02 on similar queries before I ever attended NCCU Law, since the people asking me knew I wasn’t a lawyer and was only providing them with my best guess.

But now that I’m a law student I’m worried that the State Bar will get all bent out of shape and complain I’m providing unauthorized legal advice, even if I make it clear that it’s still the same quality of “best guess” I would have provided before ever attending law school and even if I throw in a disclaimer that I’m not a lawyer and can’t provide bona fide legal advice.

Any suggestions from the 3Ls/post-Ls on how to respond? Say what I would have said in undergrad? Point them to a section in a legal encyclopedia with an attendant ::nudge nudge wink wink::? Tell them they’re on their own and give them the number of a lawyer they can’t afford?

Thoughts are appreciated. Until then, have a great night! :D


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