Cranky about people asking for legal advice

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not_ally

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This is *totally* not soap related. I just have had several random people lately (neighbors usually) ask me for free legal advice, and it does make me cranky. For the most part I would never just say "here's your answer, take it and run with it", usually if they are asking it is for something that I would have to do research on, or they want me to write a letter or file something for them. And you know, I just don't want to do that unless it is for family and friends. Not to mention malpractice issues if I am wrong (hey, I'm not the expert on everything legal under the sun, part of why lawyers and doctors are expensive is that if things go wrong they can go *very, expensively* wrong.)

I would never (eg) ask sellers here for their best soap recipe, I know that is the result of a lot of time and work. My sister (a doc) gets this, too. We both spent an awful lot of money and time acquiring certain skills, it is kind of crazy to me that people don't get that.

I guess I am feeling grizzly and as if I am being mean-spirited, no one wants to be that.
 
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KristaY

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I totally get where you're coming from, NA. It happens to me too from the medical standpoint. People always asking what I think about this medication or that treatment plan, etc. I've gotten to the point I don't like telling people what I do. But when it crops up, I usually direct them to find the answers for themselves like speaking to their pharmacist, researching on respected medical sites and seeking 2nd or 3rd medical opinions. Maybe you could direct these people to the legal equivalent? People that want free advice or service don't understand the burden they've put on you.
 

Jstar

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I got the same thing concerning computer repair...everyone wanted me to either fix their computer or tell them how to fix it {usually over the phone :crazy:}

I finally got it down to a slow drizzle when I answer with "Im not sure" or "I don't know"

They get mad because they know I 'do' know most times by the descriptions they give me..but I got tired of giving free computer repair almost every day. I take care of my family's repairs these days, and answer the odd question every once in awhile of friends etc...

Then there's the free notary issue..LOL

Sometimes it's just better to pretend you have no clue ;)
 

not_ally

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But when it crops up, I usually direct them to find the answers for themselves like speaking to their pharmacist, researching on respected medical sites and seeking 2nd or 3rd medical opinions. Maybe you could direct these people to the legal equivalent? People that want free advice or service don't understand the burden they've put on you.
I often do, Krista. But I know (or think) that they feel as if I am being mean-spirited b/c the information is in my head, why wouldn't I be willing to share? And trying to explain is not a good thing, it is too complicated and they think you are making money-grubbing excuses so that you can charge them. Which is insane, since I don't want that kind of work.

J, that is a good idea, I have no problem saying that I am clueless, I am about most aspects of life :) I think in the future I will listen carefully and say "wow, that sounds tricky, I am afraid that I am clueless."
 
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Seawolfe

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I dont blame you for being cranky - so much can go wrong if you help them!!
For a while people were asking me to build "cheap computers" for them, I started quoting crazy prices and they stopped :) But that doesn't really work for advice or letter writing which some people see as "so easy! it should be free!"
 

not_ally

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Ugh, the computer/IT issues must be even worse, since pretty much everyone uses them and they always go wrong at some point ...

One of my best friends is really good at computer stuff and is willing to spend lots of time helping me w/mine, I am a Luddite. But I spend hours editing things for him, too. He is unlike my sister, she always just tells all of us to ask our own doctors if we have questions :)
 
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Jstar

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For a while people were asking me to build "cheap computers" for them, I started quoting crazy prices and they stopped :)
Hahaha! I know 'exactly' what you mean. Before I became 'clueless' I was stating wild prices {which actually was the going rate} they looked at me like I was satans spawn :lol:
 

Dorymae

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I think it happens to everyone. I am not an accountant, I've just been a bookkeeper forever, but people know I do my own business taxes - so what do you think people ask me about.
 

Jstar

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I must be a Jack of all Trades :lol:....I used to do ppls taxes..once I started charging tho, I didn't get much business.
 

not_ally

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I don't want people to think that if they ask legal questions here on something random and that if I venture an opinion it is a PITA. It isn't, if I do it is b/c I want to, plus I don't think I can be sued for it :) You do get what you pay for, with pretty much everything!
 

kumudini

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When people are asking for advice it's mostly because they themselves have no clue and even if they tried to search the Internet, they really can't understand. Mostly they need reassurance. So I would give the most free advice I can give without actually, say write a letter or a prescription or anything like it. And if they need any actual hands on work, I would make sure to say that you should really go to your legal advocate or medical provider or the CS of their computer seller or whatever. Because IT IS really between them. I don't think it's a good idea to say you are really clueless, because who knows how far that word would spread.
 

not_ally

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I don't think it's a good idea to say you are really clueless, because who knows how far that word would spread.
That is not an issue, K, the folks that are asking are not the ones that cross paths w/the kind of work I have experience with. Ie; the former are dog bites/divorce, etc, the latter are mergers and acquisitions/complex business formation/litigation. The people who would hire me for the latter would just look at my academic/work history.

But it is a reason I am a really bad person to ask about dog bites and divorces, the only knowledge I have about that is dim memories of reading cases in school 20 years ago.
 

Judiraz

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When I was a Realtor I would have the same thing. People would ask me to do a market analysis on their property and then try to sell it themselves. Then when it came time for them to negotiate a contract they would call asking for help/ advice.
 

not_ally

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Judiraz, that's happened to me as well! I have a RE brokers license (easy to get if you are an atty) so that I could find stuff easily/avoid broker's fees, I did flips. Lots of people who asked for advice there, although I was less fearful of getting sued when opining on that stuff.
 

Susie

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I am a nurse, I feel your pain. I usually end conversations with, "Wow, you know, that could be really serious! You need to see your doctor!"
 

not_ally

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That is awesome, Susie. The sensible way to go, and probably least likely to make people mad.
 

OliveOil2

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Not-Ally guess it happens often, my ex is a criminal attorney, and when people would ask questions about running their business etc. he would tell them to call him when they ended up in jail. Of course he was kidding, but most took the hint.
I still get the real estate questions, and just tell people the market is completely different now, and I don't have a clue about California real estate. My sister and I have invested in and flipped houses out of state, but with all of the TV shows people think they can do it easy. I do use an agent where we purchase and I usually just say you need to find a good agent first.
 

not_ally

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I know that it is hard, many lawyers, and real estate brokers, are as dumb as rocks. I was amazed at the degree of incompetence that I saw in both. I was in a fairly singular legal environment (super white shoe international firm where we were able to bill corporate clients huge amounts of money for frighteningly good legal assistance), but most people's problems are not of that ilk. I think they should be willing to look for good ones in the areas in which they have issues (and pay them) when they need them. Just IMO, but a pretty seasoned O, on this stuff.
 

jules92207

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I personally just think it's poor form to expect anyone that makes money at something to provide their service/knowledge for free. I think the only ones who should feel bad are these folks asking you to dish out the insight/services for nothing. Shame on them.
 

nsmar4211

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Try working at an office supply store that also has some legal forms and people want to you tell them which one to use........you are going to trust someone barely making over minimum wage with your legal stuff????HAHAHAHAHHA no.
 
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