Getting legal advice over the phone can be as quick and easy as ordering a pizza
Have you ever had a burning legal question and needed to talk to a lawyer about it NOW?
With new services from LawDingo.com and Avvo.com*, it’s now much easier to get a real attorney on the phone right away, answering your questions. Avvo.com’s Avvo Advisor promises to get you a satisfactory answer from an attorney within 30 minutes or it’s free. Sounds a lot like ordering a pizza, and at around the same price, $39 (OK maybe a really fancy pizza).
Here’s how Avvo Advisor works (using the website or a free app for iOS):
1. Select the area of law relevant to your question
Avvo Advisor currently serves 9 different legal areas: Small Business, Divorce, Family, Immigration, Real Estate, Landlord-Tenant, Criminal Defense, Employment, and Bankruptcy/Debt
2. Enter your credit card info and contact info
3. An attorney will call you within 15 minutes (or you get a full refund)
4. You get a 15 minute phone call about your question
If you need more time or further legal services, you will need to arrange this directly with the attorney (and at the attorney’s likely more expensive rate). But if your question is simple enough, your issue could be resolved in just 30 minutes (up to 15 minutes of waiting + 15 minute phone call), and then you can move on with your life. And the money-back guarantee is as generous as it could be:
“If you don’t get the service or the answers you need, or are not 100% satisfied with your advice session, we will gladly refund you.”
LawDingo works similarly, and charges $30 for consultations. But they are not clear on how much time this buys you, and do not guarantee either that you will get an instant consultation in all cases or that you can get your money back if you are unsatisfied with the attorney’s response.
An “instant lawyer” service sounds pretty good, though of course it doesn’t work for all situations. The best use of this type of service is, as Avvo describes, “to find out if you even need a lawyer – and to learn what your next steps should be if you do.” Or even to get a basic sense of how bad your situation may be so you don’t wait for a week or more until the attorney’s next available appointment, all the while worrying how much trouble you may be in.
Other examples of appropriate uses include “understanding the fine print on debt collection letters,” “understanding the steps involved in getting a divorce,” or “help with immigration forms and processes.”
However, 15 minutes is not much time, so use it wisely. As SimpleJustice blog writes,
Having fielded thousand of calls in more than 30 years of practice, my experience is that callers have the most incredible lung capacity in the world and will fill up the entire 15 minutes without taking a breath. They will tell you their life story, replete with every irrelevant detail they insist you must know about them…
Needless to say, don’t be that guy. If you’re going to use an “instant lawyer” service, make sure you prepare for the call by writing out your question and a very brief background on your situation, and refer to these notes during the call.
If you use either of these services, please comment or email us about your experiences. I would love to know how useful they are for people.*Law Soup is not affiliated with LawDingo or Avvo in any way, and we do not get any money from them for publicizing their services (although that would be nice). We do so simply to make you aware of this potentially great new legal resource.