Web site offers free legal advice

July 31, 2009 7:15:21 PM PDT
Legal advice is expensive, so a company offering up free legal advice is sure to get our attention.

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There are plenty of Web sites offering legal advice, but it is usually vague and often not even state-specific. But not this site.

Mark Solomon moved to San Francisco about a year ago. He was bidding on a home and needed legal advice.

"I just didn't know where to go or how to find a lawyer who would be qualified to help us," he said.

He could have used the Yellow Pages, but instead he turned to the Web site Avvo.com. You key in the specialty of the legal professional you need and your location, and a list of potential attorneys pop up, complete with bios and Yelp-type ratings.

"We wanted to make an offer on this house and we needed some legal advice and we didn't want to wait around for a couple of days to try and find somebody so this seemed like a good way to connect with the right person," said Solomon.

He was happy with the attorney he ended up with and the entire process.

But the site offers more than a quick hook up with an attorney. It offers answers to your specific legal questions. Here's one: Can I break a lease if the building manager has a criminal record? The answer form an attorney: Maybe. The information may have to be disclosed that there's registered sex offender on the property.

"They can come in anonymously, if they need to, and we have real lawyers, we have thousands of lawyers. We have hundreds in California who actually come in and answer questions for free," said Avvo.com founder Mark Britton.

Free legal advice. Why? Well, it draws consumers to the site and to the attorneys posting there.

"Sometimes multiple lawyers will give differing opinions, different points of views to a specific question," explained Britton. "I mean we have some questions that have eight, 10, 15 responses from lawyers talking about the nuances of the individual questions. It is pretty neat to see."

There are also legal guides about all areas of law. This is a good starting point with just about any legal situation.

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