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Legal Advice

Court Basics

Here, learn what "legal advice" means.

In this article, learn about legal advice—which is when lawyers offer professional opinions on legal matters. Find out how to locate reliable advice, and understand the difference between legal advice and legal information.

What is "legal advice"?

Legal advice is when a lawyer gives you their professional opinion on what has happened, will happen, or how to solve your problem by applying the law to the facts in your case. Legal advice is when a person listens to a set of facts and then applies the law to those facts.

When getting legal advice, you might not get the answer you were hoping for. This does not mean that the lawyer provided the wrong advice. The answer simply could be how the law applies to your situation. If this is the case, you can try to get a second opinion from another lawyer. 

Can nonlawyers provide legal advice?

No. Legal advice can only be provided by a lawyer. 

What is "legal information"?

Legal information can include statutes, definitions, treatises and practice guides, and court rules. It cannot include any analysis of your particular situation, which crosses the line into "legal advice." 

Read Legal Information vs. Legal Advice for more details.

How can I help a lawyer give me reliable advice?

You can help by making sure the lawyer knows and understands all the facts in your case. A good way to do this is to write a fact statement. To write one, write out everything that has happened in your case. Make sure to include dates and references to any evidence you might have to help prove your side of the story. Make sure to gather any and all copies of the paperwork in your case.

It is also a good idea to write a goal statementTo write one, write out what your ideal outcome in the case is so that the lawyer will understand your goals for your case. When talking to the lawyer, provide them with your facts and goals, so they can give sound legal advice. 

What kind of legal advice can I get?

Generally, you can get legal advice on:

  • How what has already happened in your case affects your current and future rights.
  • What steps to avoid.
  • What steps to take next.
  • Other issues you should be aware of.

Why is it a good idea to get legal advice?

There is no substitute for the advice of a lawyer.

Getting advice from a lawyer allows you to rely on what she has told you so you can better understand your legal rights and responsibilities.

There are several other types of help lawyers can provide, but when going through the legal system, you should at least make sure to get detailed legal advice from a lawyer about your issues.

How do I find free or low-cost legal advice?

TexasLawHelp.org offers this directory of legal assistance programs in Texas. Programs in the directory may be able to provide free or low-cost legal advice. such as through legal hotlines, legal clinics, or specialized legal aid programs.

  • Legal Hotlines Various bar associations and legal aid organizations provide free legal hotlines as another way to provide free legal advice. Some legal hotlines can help regardless of your income level. The State Law Library of Texas links to legal hotlines.
  • Legal Clinics. Bar associations and legal aid organizations also offer legal clinics as a way to provide free legal advice. Some legal clinics are available regardless of your income level.
  • Specialized Programs. If you are over 60, a veteran, a victim or survivor of domestic violence or sexual assault, or a parent having trouble with visitation or CPS, some programs might be able to provide free legal assistance regardless of your income level. Use the TexasLawHelp directory to find niche legal help programs.

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Related Forms

  • Legal Information vs. Legal Advice

    Guidelines and instructions for clerks and court personnel who work with self-represented litigants in Texas state courts.