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Avvo and Alabama Law – Useful but Beware of Bad Legal Advice on Avvo

by William L. Pfeifer, Jr. on February 20, 2014

in Appeals

Avvo.com is a useful website where you can learn about attorneys, post questions, and get free legal advice on a variety of topics on Alabama law. I have written several articles about Avvo in the past when I wrote for About.com, and overall I think they have a good system. I am also honored that they gave our firm a 10.0 Superb rating, which is the highest score they give to attorneys. However, Avvo has one area of weakness that continues to this day. It seems that too many attorneys want to answer questions when they don’t actually know the correct answer. In other words, some lawyers are giving out bad legal advice.

In 2011, I wrote an article about Lawyers Answering Questions Outside of their Jurisdictions, where I complained that many Avvo lawyers are answering legal questions posed in states where they do not practice law. You can often see attorneys from the other side of the country asking very specific questions about Alabama law – and often those answers are completely wrong. While that was the subject of that article, the problem doesn’t stop there.

The problem with attorneys answering questions posed in states where they do not know the law continues to this day. However, there is an even worse problem – Alabama lawyers incorrectly answering questions about Alabama law. Just recently I saw two Alabama attorneys give the wrong answer to an important legal question. If a person followed the free legal advice given by those two lawyers, it would result in a criminal conviction in a situation where the person should have the criminal charges dismissed. While these were both good attorneys, they did not know the law on this specific issue well enough to answer the question correctly. The answer could mean the difference between incarceration and freedom.

While free legal advice from a website like Avvo can be useful at times, do not rely solely on it for important legal decisions. Always consult with a lawyer who is knowledgeable in the relevant area of law to make sure you are taking the correct steps to deal with your problem. And if you get the feeling the lawyer might not know what he or she is talking about, go get a second opinion.

As an Alabama appellate law firm, we often see the results of people who were represented by lawyers who failed to do their jobs properly. Sometimes we can fix the problem in an appeal or through a post-conviction relief petition, but other times it is too late to do anything. To discuss your case with our office to see if we can help with your appeal, please call us toll free at (800) 737-3702 Extension 1, or fill out our Contact form to submit an online inquiry.

Alabama State Bar rules require the following disclaimer in all attorney advertisements: “No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of services provided by other attorneys.”

 

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