Do Attorneys answering questions on this website owe a duty to the person asking the question?

If I as an Attorney address a question raised on this website, is the person receiving the advice entitled to rely on the advice. Would the person receiving the advice have a right to bring civil proceedings against the Attorney if the advice was defective? Is this a forum where Attorney's expose themselves to civil liability and effectively provide an entirely free legal service and receive nothing in exchange?

Usa, Mobile, AL -

Attorney Answers (3)

Jeffrey Bruce Gold

Jeffrey Bruce Gold

Lawsuit / Dispute Attorney - Bellmore, NY
Answered

Since the rules of AVVO expressly state that an attorney client relationship is not formed, a poster would be hard fought to sue if they get the wrong advice. Posters get an attorney's intuitive response to their questions - most of it good, most of it not - and the attorney gets exposure to new clients. I can't speak for everyone, but many of the attorneys who spend time on the site and provide real answers when possible, find themselves in the position of receiving cases from the other attorneys on the site, and on occasion from a poster. Last year, I was called by someone whose question I answered on AVVO after he had been turned down by 3 other firms. Despite the fact that he was 450 miles from my office, I accepted the case and recently settled the matter for mid 6 figures. I'm sure others have done better, because the continue to provide excellent answers day after day.

If you'd like to discuss, please feel free to call. Jeff Gold Gold, Benes, LLP 1854 Bellmore Ave Bellmore,... more
Michael T Millar

Michael T Millar

Business Attorney - Toms River, NJ
Answered

There is no attorney client relationship between the individuals asking the questions and the attorneys providing answers. Indeed, most of the attorney responses contain a disclaimer regarding the information provided. See also the Avvo Terms of Service at Paragraph 9 - where the individuals using the site explicitly agree that no attorney client relationship is created.

While the attorneys are providing information at no charge, it is also a form of marketing that may help the lawyer find paying clients.

If this answer was helpful, please mark it as helpful or as a best answer. This answer is for general education... more
Bruce E. Burdick

Bruce E. Burdick

Intellectual Property Law Attorney - Alton, IL
Answered

Yes, they owe a duty not to deliberately mislead with intent to harm, which would be virtually impossible to prove except in the most extreme case, and such a case would get flagged and removed as soon as Avvo noticed it.

Per Avvo's TOS there is not attorney-cleint relationship so there is no civil liability for any answer. Also, we almost all have a disclaimer to that effect that we boilerplate and which Avvo posts at the bottom of every one of our messages.

It is wrong that Attorneys receive nothing in return. Some receive clients, some receive education, some receive practice arguing their points, and some receive entertainment. Most of us who post a lot feel we learn what frequent issues clients have and get practice at answering them clearly and concisely in terms a layman can understand and absorb, which is a very valuable skill for an attorney, particularly for litigators who must do just that in jury trials.

I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is... more

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