The difference between legal information and legal advice

By Vivian Michael | Startup

The difference between legal information and legal advice

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So you've probably seen a few disclaimers that read like this 'legal information, not a substitute for legal advice'. We use a disclaimer like this ourselves on our downloads.

This post will help you know the difference between legal information and advice and the importance of the difference.

Legal information

Legal information is generic. It explains a process, a definition or provides a framework for how something should work. 

Non-lawyers may also provide information.

So, if you are a startup searching the internet for useful resources to use (like this very article or even template downloads) - that's information.

Why?

Information is NOT built for your startup’s situation, it's generic.

Legal advice

Now, on the other hand, legal advice is for your startup and typically given by a qualified lawyer. 

Legal advice can be written, verbal or a combination. 

To qualify as advice, the lawyer needs to know your situation, the problem, query or your ideal outcome. And, with this knowledge, a lawyer will give you legal advice or tailor a document based on your startup's situation.

Below are some examples. 

Legal information examples

Here are some things to know about legal information. It may include:

  • article, blog post or fact sheet;
  • template legal agreement (that a lawyer is not updating after your download), you simply download and use 'off-the-shelf'; and
  • it’s always generic and may not be applicable to your situation.

Legal advice examples

Below are some examples of legal advice.

  • you consult with a lawyer and you explain your situation and your lawyer advises you; or 
  • a lawyer prepares legal agreements based on your instructions and their advice to you; and 
  • it’s always specific to your situation.





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About the Author

Vivian Michael is a lawyer and founder of Michael Law Group. Vivian's mission is to make quality business legal services accessible to Australian businesses that would otherwise DIY, rely on legacy contracts or go without.

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