About Legal “Self-Help” Services

Imagine that have sharp abdominal pain. It’s nearly unbearable and your gut tells you to go the hospital. But you know that’s going to be expensive, so instead you do a quick Google search for “sharp abdominal pain” and find a list of possible problems:

  • Appendicitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Gallstone
  • Kidney stone
  • Diverticulitis

These diagnoses are disparate from each other, but appendicitis sounds like it fits your symptoms. Your neighbor dissected a frog in high school, so you call him to come do a quick appendectomy (they’re routine…what can go wrong?). But what if your pain is just a little indigestion from something you ate at lunch. Some ginger ale could be the answer instead of invasive surgery.

The internet is a great resource for a wealth of information, but it’s only a starting point for information that can affect your life, your business or your ability to earn a living. This is true for medical websites as much as it is for legal websites. If you want to save a few dollars using a do-it-yourself website, consider what they tell you in their small print:

  • We can give you possible tools to help you, but we cannot give you real legal advice;
  • Our site is in no way a proper substitute for legal assistance;
  • The laws change quickly, so we’re unable to provide the most current, accurate, or up-to-date material;
  • We are unable to establish an attorney-client relationship with you because we’re not attorneys.

Self-help websites can’t take the time to understand the nuances of your particular case. They can’t give you specific legal advice. Self-help websites operate on a template and volume system. While some templates may be great for some transactions, your particular case may be unique and might require the attention of a real lawyer with real training who can give your needs real attention. If you think it’s worth saving a few dollars, at least review the terms of use and disclaimers from the self-help websites you visit. Most of the disclaimers you will read will advise you to consult with an attorney before tackling any real legal issues. Why not start there in the first place and save yourself the hassle? You wouldn’t hire a high school biology graduate to do you appendectomy just to save a few buck, would you?