So often, Googling “free X” gets you not-free results. Free legal advice is no exception.
According to Moz, the first result in Google for “free legal advice” is FreeAdvice.com. Despite the name, to get an answer the site makes you go through four doorway pages. Then, right before you supposedly get an answer, you’re asked to give them your… credit card.
But that doesn’t mean free legal advice isn’t out there for the taking.
Whether you’re a lawyer looking for places to find clients, or wanting to size up your competition, here are some sources for legal advice that’s actually free.
Avvo should be your first stop for free legal advice if your question is straightforward.
It’s the second result in Google for “free legal advice.” But it should be the first. The American Bar Association honored Avvo in 2015 for innovative delivery of legal services. They offer people a 15-minute phone call with a lawyer for a fixed-fee.
But it’s not just their product that’s innovative. Their marketing is also cutting edge. Avvo uses the content marketing model. They provide searchers real value for free so that they use the brand when they’re ready to plunk down cash to solve a legal problem.
Content marketing means clear answers to simple legal problems for free. You don’t pay until/unless your problem needs one-on-one lawyer time. That also makes it a great source of leads for smart-but-unknown attorneys.
In addition, this Avvo ad campaign highlights the potential for humor in legal quandaries. And last year Avvo hosted the sixth annual Lawyernomics, a conference about the business development side of law hosted in Las Vegas. Here’s my coverage of the event.
The site is extremely well-designed. It’s intuitive to use. And while I can’t vouch for the quality of the legal advice, the answers are well-written.
Maybe your question is less straightforward, but you’re not ready to pay for a 15-minute phone call. Quora is your next stop.
Quora is what Yahoo Answers tried to be. It is a place where experts in every arena can network and display their prowess by answering people’s questions. Good answers rise to the top, bad answers languish at the bottom. It’s a great resource for many topics, including the law.
For example, maybe your “angel investor threatens to file a criminal fraud complaint if I don’t return their money. They flipped out when I told them I filed for bankruptcy. What do I do?” (This was an actual Quora question.) Well, then you may get five paragraphs from a startup attorney, totally free. (Here’s the actual Quora answer)
Of course, there’s no guarantee that lawyers will hop on your question and answer it for free. But if you’re willing to wait a few days, it’s worth asking.
Pro-tip: Share your question on social media to increase your chances of getting an answer.
Reddit operates similarly to Quora, but with anonymity. This can be good in that it encourages candid responses. But if you want to double check whether your answer comes from an authoritative source, you’re out of luck.
Try the Legal Advice Subreddit to get you started. But remember to read the rules before posting or you’ll get banned in a hurry.
If you don’t have any lawyers following you, asking your legal question on Twitter isn’t likely to yield much. However, I’ve found the lawyers on Twitter to be pretty responsive when addressed directly.
The great thing about Twitter is a nice, respectful nobody can have a conversation with a famous person pretty easily.
If you know who might have an answer to your question, try tweeting at them about it.
Despite ranking for “free legal advice,” Rocket Lawyer is not free. You can get one free legal form, and there is some free advice on the site. So it’s not a bad place to gather information. But you’re not going to get as much for free as you do with Avvo.
Good advice is hard to find. Good, free advice is even harder. Good thing these sites exist. If they can’t solve your problem, they’ll at least get you closer. And you won’t have to go through doorway pages or give up your credit card information to get there.
Have you used any of these sites for free legal advice? What was your experience like? Any other good sources of free legal advice I missed? Let me know in the comments!