Legal Information vs. Legal Advice

As advocates, we are often asked questions about legal matters. What does this law mean to me? How do I handle a situation with a probation officer or myself in a courtroom?

Unless you are a licensed attorney, you must take extra care to provide only INFORMATION and not ADVICE. PARSOL is a non-attorney organization and does not provide legal advice.

Information you learn from PARSOL, its website, publications, media, affiliates, staff, or volunteers shall never be construed as legal advice.

Sometimes all someone needs is information, and sometimes that information can help them decide if they need to get advice. Of course, both information and advice are helpful, but as advocates, we can only give information that may include directing a person to contact a legal professional.

Legal InformationLegal Advice
Legal definitions: what the words mean
“Matrimonial property actions are civil claims that will divide the property obtained during a marriage between divorcing spouses.”
Legal interpretations: how the statutes and case law apply in a specific case
“When we go over your list of assets, I can explain which would be considered matrimonial property and which would not.”
Procedural definitions, such as who the people are in court and what steps take place
“There are different reasons why you, and/or the other party may want to adjourn the application. Some of these are…”
Procedural recommendations, such as what type of application to make or which level of court to use
“At the next court appearance, we should ask for an adjournment because…”
How to find legislation, court rules, and cases, as well as other online and print resources or workshops that explain the law
“This booklet explains the guidelines for child support generally.”
Research of legislation, court rules, and cases; applying the law to the facts of a given situation
“There are a number of cases that would support your claim of $X for damages for personal injuries.”
Providing samples of court forms and instructions; telling you if required sections of a form have been filled out
“I have marked the three places on this form where you have not yet filled in the required information.”
Filling out forms or telling you to put in a form, e.g. specific people against whom to file pleadings or types or amount of damages to seek
“In this section of the form we will ask for…”
Descriptions of alternatives to court such as mediation
“You may want to consider working with a mediator. They use an informal, confidential, and structured process to resolve disputes so both parties have input into the solution. You can learn more about it from …”
Recommendations about whether or not to bring a case to court or what alternative would be the best choice for your situation
“Let’s try mediation first. It could be a faster cheaper way to resolve your problem.”
General referralsSpecific referrals
“A legal clinic may provide free advice if you qualify. Here is a list of clinics that you could call to ask about it.”

Options for dealing with a legal problem: “I can describe four different ways that you could deal with this and then you can choose.”
“I recommend that you work with Mr. Bean to get your financial documents in order before we go further.”
Opinions on whether to follow a particular course of action; predicting the outcome of a case or course of action: “I would say that you have a good case.”
Explanations about court etiquette and the order in which parties can speak in court
“When it is your turn to speak, you can summarize the facts set out in your court documents and make your arguments.”
Can be provided by many different people, including lawyersI am a court clerk. I am a library technician. I work in the Office of the Public Guardian.
Can be provided by many different people, including lawyers. Can only be provided by a lawyer, court appointed advocate, or paralegal under the supervision of a supervising attorney.

Both information and advice are useful. You don’t always need advice. Sometimes all you need is information, and sometimes that information can help you decide if you need to get advice.

Finding Legal Advice

PARSOL refers all legal advice inquiries to our resource site to find attorneys or legal services. Learn more

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