February 17, 2019

The difference between legal information and legal advice

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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.


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!

About the author 

Vivian Michael

As founder and lawyer at Michael Law Group, Vivian advises Australia's top entrepreneurs on business and employment matters. Clients benefit from Vivian's commercially focussed and pragmatic legal advice, business experience, and commitment to deliver the best quality business legal services to her clients.

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