Legal bloopers: When it comes to legal advice, know who’s giving it

Funny, Bizarre, NakedLaw, News

Advice is only as good as the person giving it, right? So it’s a no-brainer, then, that taking legal advice from a social networking site where fellow users may or — more likely — may not know anything about the law can be dicey.

Consider the recent case of a man who sought guidance from Reddit readers on a divorce. Reddit is a social networking site where visitors can comment on posts and vote for their favorites. According to the site, “Reddit stories are created by its users. Join the community, vote and change the world.”

The man, who goes by username “antons_key” on Reddit, had his world changed when he sought legal advice on beginning the divorce process with his then-wife. Acting on unsound advice he got from Reddit readers, antons_key visited some 30 divorce lawyers in his town. Discussing his case with these attorneys, even though he did not hire one, prevented his wife from using those attorneys because of the conflict of interest, thereby making her search for a lawyer unnecessarily difficult.

What those Reddit users did not count on was that his soon-to-be ex-wife would slap him with a motion for attorneys’ fees, citing, according to antons_key, “abuse of process, an attempt to deprive and interfere with justice, bad faith, and a bunch of other stuff.”

As if that wasn’t bad enough, antons_key then went back to Reddit, the very place that led him astray to begin with, and asked, “Is there something I can do to stop this?”

Yes, there is. Number one is to put the brakes on getting legal advice from anonymous social media users. We understand that you want quick, free advice. But you should seek it from people who know the difference between malfeasance and malice, alibi and alias. In other words, you want legal advice from legal professionals. Luckily, the Internet is full of good advice; you just have to know where to look.

Next step? Go back to one of those 30 lawyers and hire one before your wife does.