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The difference between legal information and legal advice

Updated: 7 December 2019

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 website including our downloads.

I'll explain the difference because its important to know.

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 tailored to your situation, it's generic.

Legal advice

Now, on the other hand, legal advice is tailored 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 situation.

Below are some examples. 

Legal information examples

Legal information 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.

I wish you every success in your ventures!





Vivian Michael
 

Vivian Michael is a lawyer and founder of Michael Law Group. Vivian's mission is to make quality business legal services accessible to entrepreneurs launching in Australia.

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