Well, it depends... but if you care about the success and protection of your business - probably not...
We are all guilty of browsing the internet for various types of free information because it is so EASY! Often times the general information is pretty accurate and usable. Especially for information such as cooking and home DIY projects and for certain product information and for location, opinions and ratings of services needed. However; if you are a business owner, when it comes to certain areas of information such as legal advice, caution should be exercised because free information online is still virtually the digital “wild-wild west”.
The following are a few simple factors to consider:
Your business is unique and likely needs unique advice
Asking or seeking out free general legal advice online for your unique business might seemingly help get the job done but you risk ruining the business you’ve worked so hard to establish if only one specific step, that is relevant to your business, is missed. A specific step could be missed because there would be no way for the free general online information to consider the level of background information needed to provide proper guidance for your unique business matter. For example; whomever added the free online advice might not consider the Federal, state and or local laws that might apply to your business.
Therefore, it is better to budget to have a qualified attorney on retainer with whom you can consult, for legal questions specific to your business, to ensure that your business is getting the right legal information that is tailored to your unique business needs.
Free might = trouble
Relying upon free online legal advice might even get your business into legal trouble because you might be tricked into relying on false or bad information that has been deliberately placed online.
Conversely, a lawyer who is retained by you would be duty bound to provide information that is in the best interest of your business or risk being sued for malpractice and also sanctioned by the state regulating authority.
You cannot DIY everything!
Although there are many things you can learn to do yourself – practicing law is probably not one of them. DIY information that you obtain online to address a business legal matter could potentially lead to costly liability since, as a lay person, you would not have a full understanding of how the law applies to your specific matter. However; a lawyer that you retain would be trained to understand how particular laws apply to your business matter based on your unique facts. For example; a lawyer would be able to recognize that a seemingly straightforward sounding law might have an odd application or be partially invalid, as applied to your specific matter facts, based on a conflicting court decision.
Since free information online is still virtually the digital “wild-wild west” use it with caution when seeking legal advice for your unique business. The bottom line is that if you are serious about your business you should consider budgeting to retain one good business lawyer who can handle your business legal matters and be able to recommend other attorneys for specific matters that are not his/her specialty. Unlike free online legal advice, using a business lawyer for your legal matters will help you obtain worthwhile guidance that will help propel your businesses growth and success.