What is the secret meaning of free legal advice on the Internet?

    Many Internet users have at least once encountered the so-called free consultations on various legal portals. What are the benefits for legal counsel in engaging in similar activities? Are such consultations expert? With this question, I turned to a friend-lawyer who told a lot of interesting things.


    Hidden commercial interest

    The first conjecture, which may appear in many heads, is quite natural. I also thought about her. Free online consultations are similar to the demo version of a certain paid service. Or a computer program in a trial version (it does not provide full functionality and stops working after 30 days).

    Indeed, a free lawyer can give general recommendations so that the client understands the level of his expertise in the matter. At the same time, the consultant does not provide comprehensive and accurate answers (it does not give the client a chance to solve the problem on their own), but in the end she necessarily leads the conversation in this direction: “Your situation is complex, ambiguous, and it needs to be solved in a separate order. To do this, you can contact our law agency for a paid service .., We are guaranteed to help you, because we face this problem every day. ”

    This form of customer interaction has the right to life. It is often found on the sites of law firms. This is not a scam or something bad. On the contrary. With the help of such consultations, company lawyers can better advertise themselves and withdraw doubting clients to conclude a contract for the provision of paid legal services.

    In addition, this form of communication improves the search engine optimization of the site. If someone searches through the search engine “how to evict mother-in-law from an apartment”, and this situation has already been discussed on the website of this law firm, a person is more likely to find this site.

    Do not believe it works? The owners of the two most popular portals of this subject: “Lawyer” and “9111.ru” will not agree with you. In 2014, according to RBC, the annual income of the “Lawyer” amounted to 1.4 million rubles. The portal “9111.ru” refused to disclose data on its capitalization. But the site management boasted to correspondents that in the last month alone, the lawyers working on this portal have earned more than 1 million rubles. How much these “monsters” of legal advice earn now is scary to imagine. But is there any benefit to a person from the work of these sites?

    If the client himself is savvy in legal matters, then such demo consultations can give him a clear recipe or plan of action for an independent solution to the problem without the help of lawyers. Then free legal advice is useful. But most people, having received the limited advice of a lawyer, cannot solve the problem on their own and will be forced to turn to the same consultant for paid help (after all, he assured that the matter is trifling). In this case, the benefits of a free consultation are more for the lawyer and his office, and not for the client.

    Proof of legal practice

    In addition to the commercial interest of the lawyer or his company, there is another important point in conducting free online consultations. Legal professions are different:

    • lawyer;
    • notary;
    • referee;
    • investigator.

    A person with a legal education cannot simply take and get a job as a judge, lawyer or, for example, a notary public.

    In order to occupy one of these positions, it is necessary to submit a package of documents to a professional college (the “Council of Elders” among lawyers, judges or any other legal specialties), pass an exam and confirm your level of professional suitability. One of the steps towards a new profession is the confirmation of one's seniority and experience in consulting work.

    In the age of the Internet, even a specialist who is not employed by a law firm can earn a proven track record in the profession. Messages in various forums are almost always dated. Why not take advantage of this? A lawyer can conduct periodic consulting activities on the Internet for several years. For example - once a day. This is much more convenient than conducting exhausting work in the office daily on weekdays from 8.00 to 18.00.

    Further printouts from all these forums are supported by a package of documents as evidence that the lawyer has been actively involved in consulting activities for all 3, 5 or 6 years. This experience can be taken into account when submitting documents to the college, when an ordinary lawyer wants to take a higher status.

    Such consultants can be found on the general topic sites of answer-questions and on specialized portals for free consultations from lawyers, where there is no bias towards any one company. Such portals benefit from traffic (earnings from advertising that visitors view). Such sites are often reputationally beneficial for consultations to be more or less professional. Often on such portals you can find a rating system that allows you to determine the value of the advice of certain lawyers.

    But you should not completely rely on the fact that specialists on such portals will help you "from and to." Lawyers do not strive to work for free. They do this only to fix their work experience. They can give competent advice, after which you still have to apply for paid legal support and representation of your interests in specialized firms. And they can also give illiterate advice. Just because it was too lazy to delve into the problem, because you do not have to accompany the client in the future. But at the bar or panel of judges they still will not check everything that is written. After all, this is all a pure formality. For the collegium, another thing is more important - who recommended you and whose relative you are, because the powerful people who are in the "clan" are not allowed random people.

    Copywriter instead of lawyer


    The worst situation is when real qualified lawyers on the Internet are pretended to be copywriters. Of course, writers are different:

    • former or current journalists (they should be able to quickly understand any complex topic at the expert level);
    • lawyers, bankers and realtors working as copywriters (they are so competent in their field);
    • students, schoolchildren and mothers in decrees from copywriting exchanges (the expertise and ability to verify the facts of this category of workers is off-scale (no)).

    For the most part, those people who are willing to work at a rate of 20-70-100 rubles per thousand characters without spaces are responsible for filling the various sites with texts. Mostly unprofessional people and, rarely, professionals, who currently need any part-time job, agree to such a bet.

    And the sites of law firms, and larger portals with free online consultations, it is beneficial to attract copywriters who pretend to be lawyers, than real lawyers. It's cheaper. And we need such a forgery for the same advertising and enticing purposes, as in the cases from the first paragraph of this article (search engine promotion, advertising services of the office). The portal “9111.ru” mentioned above definitely sins this for the sake of profit. Once the personnel of this company found my resume as a journalist on hh.ru. They contacted me and apparently, like many others, suggested writing legal advice on their website. For this, the sky in diamonds was promised a symbolic monetary reward for every 1000 views of my super-useful writing.

    I know firsthand that smaller law firms do not lag behind market giants in an effort to hire a copywriter at the price of one hot dog for a half-year project (I have come across such vacancies). How it works?

    For example, the law firm Pupkin and Partners has only two lawyers (Pupkin and Lupkin). These guys are constantly disappearing at court hearings from the corner and before lunch (once they generally). Their company has a website with a free consultation section and a cunning admin, Misha, who oversees the whole thing. Suppose that questions are coming to this site from potential customers every day more and more. Admin Misha has to somehow get out, because the writings from clients on the portal will significantly save the advertising budget allocated to him. Which he, by the way, has already almost drunk. And here is a good chance for PR. But in order for client questions to be published on the site, they need competent answers from lawyers Pukin and Lupkin. But these guys are not (they are also busy in lawsuits). And Misha is looking for who will quickly and cheaply answer all these questions. For example, an energetic schoolboy Petya, ready to work for 5 rubles per hour.

    As a result, on absolutely any portal where there is a free lawyer, we can run into the eighth-grader Petya, who can quickly google the topic of the problem you described, and, without really delving into it, rewrite the answer with a similar article, as it seems to him.

    Consultation in this case can be not only incorrect, but even harmful. This is because there have been so many unprincipled uneducated copywriters on the Internet in recent years that the whole Runet is littered with their terrible articles starting with turns like: “There is no definite answer to the question of how to drive a mother-in-law out of the apartment without her consent. So is it possible to drive the mother-in-law? We’ll try to find out what the law and the mother-in-law say about it ... "

    These guys just do not hesitate to rewrite texts from each other for a good ten years for the fifth time. The quality of information in such articles is degrading from year to year in any industry (this is especially evident in the medical field - that you haven’t googled about any pimple on your nose, oncology will definitely be on the list of possible causes of the disease). Here texts on legal subjects are copied without a minimum analysis of legislation and the study of specialized legal literature.

    It even happens that a Russian copywriter rips out a piece of text from a Russian-language article by a Belarusian or Ukrainian colleague, who, when writing the material, relied on the legislation of their own country. And to evict the same mother-in-law from the apartment, according to the laws of the Russian Federation and Belarus, are two different things. Bottom line - the price of such consultations is zero. Or even minus one, because bad advice in the field of jurisprudence can lead to serious losses on your part. Especially when it is not about evicting a beloved mother-in-law, but about a possible criminal prosecution.

    Scam Lawyers


    Outright crooks can also pretend to be free lawyers. For example, criminals sitting in places not so remote. To everyone’s surprise, they now have free access to the Internet, so they began to actively earn money on:

    • bulletin boards selling fake prepaid goods;
    • on real estate portals, renting fake apartments on a prepaid basis;
    • at legal advice.

    The latter scheme is gaining immense popularity these days. Zek creates the site of a non-existent law firm. As office managers, he writes down the real names of well-known and not very lawyers (the main thing is that information about them can be google on the Internet). This is done based on those users who may want to google reviews on the work of these lawyers before concluding an agreement or paying for something. The client on such sites immediately falls into the free consultation section. Further, by hook or by crook, they impose the signing of an agreement on the provision of services to represent his interests. The contract, of course, on a non-existent company with the mention of the names of lawyers not involved in this. And then the client is asked to make a partial or full prepayment for the services. After receiving the money, all contacts with the client cease. Naturally, no one sends an agreement to anyone.

    Lawyer with a cunning contract

    There is another form of fraud. It employs real lawyers - the “honest” sons of the law. According to Dmitry Yanin, head of the International Confederation of Consumer Societies, these legal criminal organizations perfectly cover their rear areas from a legal point of view in order to “breed” unsuspecting citizens with money without fear of misadventures in their buttocks.

    The essence of the scam is that a person, under any pretext, is lured out of Internet and telephone communication for a free legal consultation at the company’s office. Even in the case of a simple case of 10-20 thousand (for example, a dispute on the return of money for low-quality goods), the client is “processed” in such a way that he is ready to sign an agreement on representing his interests on a paid basis. It will cost him only a couple of thousand.

    A person signs a contract, pays money to the cashier, and then it turns out that he signed the contract for the provision of only consulting services. And any further actions on the part of lawyers to draw up documents, or submit them to the necessary authorities will be evaluated according to a separate predatory price list. And a person has already agreed to all these conditions (signature - that is). As a result, in order to “shake” compensation from the store for a pair of defective sneakers, the client will have to spend several times more money on lawyers than the cost of these sneakers. Here you have a free lawyer. Typically, such specialists manage to weld about 30-50 thousand rubles from one client, not particularly overworking. And everything is legal. Under contract. Wanted a favor? Get it! Didn't read the fine print? Himself to blame!

    Finding the right way

    Is free cheese always threatening to get into a mousetrap? Not always. But at best, free legal advice provides a general understanding of the issue, but does not carry much value. In the worst case, they can result in harm to your well-being.

    How to protect yourself from this? Better call Saul.


    Joke. Engage in the selection of a qualified lawyer for each specific task for a fee. How to do it safely and effectively? In the real world, this can be done according to the recommendations of friends. On the Internet - through aggregators and marketplaces of services.

    Only here is one significant “BUT!”. You need to choose a site that works only with law firms and does not deal with individual consultants, freelancers and other people who could freely register in the system and start offering their services as an executor.

    Also popular now: