The United States loves lawyers. How else can you explain the enduring popularity of the Law & Order franchise? People love to sue for a wide variety of complaints, both real and perceived. The most famous of which is the woman who sued McDonalds for her coffee being hot, when she spilled it and it scalded her.
So if you have a lawsuit itching to get out the gates and into the courtroom for the trial of the century, then good news. Finding the next Perry Mason to take your case, is as simple as turning on your computer and going online. You may also be looking for detailed legal information, so you can represent yourself.
The ever-helpful MakeUseOf is now here to put it all together for you in one article. Now go forth and sue someone for breathing!
Now of COURSE we are going to start with Reddit, because which subject is not covered by the cute little alien? You can find anything there, and the law is no exception. There’s even a private group for “licensed attorneys” to join (no doubt to tell war stories of their latest triumphs). Since I am not a licensed attorney however (except in my roleplaying fantasies), then I cannot apply for this group.
Reddit Law gives you links to current legal-related news and discussions, and anyone remotely interested in the law should keep tabs on this page. It is mainly US-based, but some international-related posts do pop up, including this one of a surreal case where an old man is fighting the authorities over his right to kiss his wife. Yes, it’s Britain gone mad.
If you are looking for a legal question to be answered, your initial plan should include asking it on Quora. It’s free, and it is populated by lawyers, wannabe lawyers, cops, former cops, and a wide variety of other people in other professions. So you have a good chance of getting your question answered by someone with the experience and background to know.
Obviously to proceed with a case, you need to properly hire a lawyer and seek professional advice. But if you are just looking for an informal sounding board, to test the strength of the case, then Quora would not be a bad idea.
You can also spot related topics like Intellectual Property Law or Litigation and Lawsuits among the many on the right.
In the pre-Internet days, finding a lawyer was a case of picking up the Yellow Pages and “letting your fingers do the walking”. Or relying on billboards or other such advertising. But these days, finding a lawyer is as simple as going to a site such as Priori Legal.
Type in who you need, describe your problem, and then you will receive a list of vetted legal superstars. They will send you proposals, and you decide which one you want to go with. Easy.
The site charges a fee for its service but also offers free 30-minute consultations to tailor your need to a specific kind of lawyer.
Similar sites include Hire an Esquire and Upcounsel. So you can shop around for the right grizzled disillusioned alcoholic lawyer, persuaded to take on an unwinnable case, against all the odds.
Heading into a lengthy legal case where you are defending yourself? It pays to immerse yourself in the legal world, in all its forms. Following reputed sites like this would also help you see how similar cases to yours are faring in your great land, such as the progress of gay marriage through the courts, as well as the countless challenges to Obamacare.
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog is a site which does this and more. Keep up to date with the latest legal news, categorized into its specialized areas, such as civil litigation, bankruptcy, criminal law, constitutional law, and much more.
If you want to register any logos and/or trademarks, then Stites & Harbison seem to be your people. They write several blogs, and one of them is Trademarkology, in which they discuss….yes, you guessed it! Trademark issues! I expected this to be dry boring legal prose, guaranteed to put me into a drunken stupor. So imagine my surprise when I discovered myself actually enjoying reading this!
The Olympics one (just to pick one off the top of my head) is a fascinating look at trademarks in the forthcoming Olympic Games in 2024.
If you need advice or information on trademark law, then this is the one to bookmark.
With the classic South Park phrase as its title, and a brilliant subtitle (“What You Need To Know Before You Scream “I Quit”, Get Fired, Or Decide to Sue the Bastards“), this employment law blog, written by lawyer and author Donna Ballman, has already become one of my favorites. It comes highly recommended by the American Bar Association, an accolade which any lawyer would be crazy not to broadcast around.
Admittedly, some of the text descends into dense legal jargon that makes you sleepy, but there is also a lot of interesting stuff (like any other blog I guess). It also suffers a bit by virtue of the fact that it is hosted on Blogger, so the design is a bit amateurish. But nevertheless, this is a great one to bookmark if you are thinking of telling your tyrannical boss to stick his job where even a customs officer wouldn’t be able to find it.
As the Internet becomes more and more of our daily lives, it is also becoming a big part of the legal system. As well as the countless legal issues faced by technology companies, lawyers are also finding new ways to use technology to their advantage (“it’s not my fault the brief was late! My Google broke!”).
Technologist covers the latest technology news and developments, when it comes to lawyering. Similar sites include Kashmir Hill, and the amusingly titled Real Lawyers Have Blogs. Other sites which sometimes covers technology stuff include Attorney At Work, and Lawyerist. The latter site also has a section on starting your own law firm, if you win a few cases, rock the legal system with your summations, and decide this is the life for you.
If you plan on doing any lawyering, or bringing any lawsuits, then it would help to have some idea of what a courtroom looks like. If your TV is broken and you can’t get the latest police procedural show, then the next best thing is looking at Court Artist.
Arthur Lien, who has been doing this for the past 40 years, now works for NBC News. He normally does the Supreme Court, but he also covers other cases in other courts, such as the Boston Marathon bomber trial.
And finally, if you lose your case, and all subsequent appeals, then your last bet is the Supreme Court (if they will hear you). If you get to argue before the Supremes…..
No, not THOSE Supremes, I mean these ones :
I know, not as nice looking as the singers, but these guys could reverse your case in your favor, so be nice to them, OK? Therefore SCOTUSblog is essential reading. They even have a section called “Plain English” where “cases are made simple“. Now that’s what I’m talking about!
“And in Closing, Your Honor…”
There are so many sites online dedicated to the pursuit of the law, so this is just a tiny sampling of some of the good ones. But as I said before, what is online is no substitute for real legal counsel, so if you are in a sticky situation, hire a real lawyer immediately, and get proper legal advice. Don’t depend solely on what a website says.
Websites are a good first reference point, but in order to go further, you need to proceed directly to the attorney’s office, do not pass go, and be prepared to give him or her a lot more than $200.
Which legal websites do you visit to help build your cases? If you are a lawyer, how do you feel about clients getting their information from the Internet?