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Proposal: Law

This is a proposed site "for experts in law [and others]". However, seems like experts are not that interested: https://www.reddit.com/r/law/comments/2qxnpq/any_interest_in_stackexchanges_area_51_proposal/

They've even identified a bunch of the example questions here as being legal advice, despite our claim that "the site is not for specific legal advice."

Some quotes:

I see no value for lawyers to participate...

The whole idea is incompatible with "No legal advice."

Seems like the vast majority of example questions are straight-up legal advice.

I wouldn't spend the time answering any of these questions. It would take too long to do properly.

To get substantial participation in a forum like this from lawyers, you'd have to go to every one of the 51 regulators of legal practice in the US to issue some kind of guidance approving the scheme. Short of that, most aren't going to risk their license to participate, and the ones that will aren't necessarily the ones you want.

If I want to know what statutes and cases are relevant to a particular issue, I've already got better resources for that.

These sites already exist.

I am worried that we may not be able to attract experts.

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    You were attacked by a bunch of individuals opposing the concept of free resources in internet, because they feel it would hurt their pockets. But probably, there were even more people opposing StackOverflow for the same reason. Just ignore the burking and go further. – Donaudampfschifffreizeitfahrt Feb 2 '15 at 12:56
  • I think it will sort its self out. On SO, there is alot of questions that answers really depend on the language used. but some how, it still works. – Jdahern Apr 29 '15 at 0:10
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It happens, unfortunately.

The only way to attract them is to prove their doubts are nothing to worry about, by defining your scope (perhaps use their feedback as a means to do this), be strict about applying the community consensus. Most of all, applying the community consensus in a great amount of questions and answers.

Make Law.SE into the resource.

I see the main concern that they seem to have (and in all honesty is a valid concern) is that they see the potential (using the sample questions as evidence) that this would be a 'online legal service' and given the diversity of legal systems in the world - the location would need to be made mandatory in any question.

In closing and I digress, one comment caught my eye and made me laugh:

Aliens don't need lawyers.

  • Thanks, so we can should just plow ahead then :) Any thoughts about their concerns that a bunch of our high rated example questions are legal advice questions? It seems that might disqualify us in their minds regardless of the quality of our product otherwise? – user125632 Jan 4 '15 at 17:35
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They've even identified a bunch of the example questions here as being legal advice, despite our claim that "the site is not for specific legal advice."

The question seems to assume that it has been agreed that this law SE will not accept questions asking legal advice.

It has not. Some people including myself think that legal advice questions are welcome here (obviously provided that they meet descent quality standards), as you can see in the list of proposed questions, which are supposed to help define the scope of the SE.


Regarding your question, I would point out that the USA is not the only country in the world and a natural instinct is to protect one's source of income. I'd just ignore it.

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    In most U.S. jurisdictions, it is illegal for non-lawyers to offer legal advice, and ethically questionable at best for lawyers to offer advice anonymously to strangers over the internet. It's also just a terrible idea generally to take legal advice from a stranger over the internet. I thought there was a consensus that legal advice was not appropriate. – chapka Mar 10 '15 at 13:01
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    @chapka Well the U.S. population is less than 10% of the world population, we have different ethics, I think it's a great idea when people are responsible and there is no consensus that involves me. – Franck Dernoncourt Mar 10 '15 at 17:20
  • I’m not a U.S citizen and I confirm it is illegal to provide legal advice in some countries in eu if you are not a lawyer. Sometimes it also illegal to not ask it to a lawyer. – user2284570 May 24 '15 at 10:03
  • What do you mean by "illegal to not ask it to a lawyer"? You can't ask your brother if he's not a lawyer? – Franck Dernoncourt May 24 '15 at 23:30
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In this reddit thread, SkyFoxe writes about the example questions:

Seems like the vast majority of example questions are straight-up legal advice:

And all of them depend on jurisdiction and facts that are left unspecified.

I wouldn't spend the time answering any of these questions. It would take too long to do properly.

And looking at the example questions, I think he's right. A lot of them (particularly the ones he quotes) are really vague, so that they would only admit either a short uninformative answer that's just as vague or an extremely long answer covering all the different cases (jurisdiction and facts). Moreover, these are not the type of questions people who are studying law would ask; these are the type of questions law clients would ask.

If we want Law.SE to be a resource for people studying law or practicing law, then the questions will have to be more technical. My naive idea of what this would look like, not having studied law, is

I was reading [specific legal document] and I don't understand what [specific locution] means in [quote]. The author references [reference], which says [quote], but I don't see how that is relevant. Can someone explain?

or

What was the first [type of statute] in [jurisdiction] to include a [type of provision]?

Maybe the type of questions in the examples could be saved if they were framed in this way, i.e. the asker would show some of their legal research and ask for help with a particular part of it. Also, reference-requests are unproblematic on any SE site; and references exist for a lot of the example questions. But as they are, I can see how a lawyer would not think it worth their time to guess at the asker's situation and try to form an answer.

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