No, your friends and google do not know more law than your attorney

July 14, 2023
  • Google is Not a Substitute for Legal Advice


In today’s world of information overload, it can be tempting to turn to Google for answers to all of life’s difficult questions, or to ask your friends and family. Unfortunately, when it comes to the legal system, relying on the internet and non-lawyers can be downright dangerous. The fact is that family law varies from state to state and what works in one jurisdiction may not work in another, and more importantly, might not be the reality in the specific county where your case is. An attorney licensed in your state who routinely practices in the county your case is filed in will have a thorough understanding of the specific laws that apply in your case and how those judges apply it. This means they can provide more accurate advice than you would get by simply Googling “divorce tips” or asking your cousin who got divorced in a different state, or reading online forums dedicated to family law issues.


  • Risks Involved with Relying on Non-Attorneys


There are many risks involved with relying on non-attorneys for legal advice during a divorce. For example, many states have strict laws governing who is allowed to practice law without a license and any attempt by someone without such credentials could result in criminal liability or civil lawsuit exposure down the road if things don’t work out as planned. Furthermore, since non-attorneys are not held accountable by any professional standards body or ethics board, they are free to provide inaccurate information without consequence which could lead you astray in your case. Your friends and family mean well, but they only draw on their experience with the law. Your attorney relies on her experience with the law too, which is based on their foundation of attending law school and handling cases similar to yours. And if you call or email your attorney and spend 20 minutes telling them what your friends said, you’ll get billed for being told your friends did not know more than your attorney.


  • Risks of relying on AI for legal advice


I wrote last week about the blunders of AI, both inside the legal industry and outside. To test its fallibility, I have posed it some of the questions I am commonly asked, such as what is the typical parenting plan and how long does a divorce take. None of the answers it gives me are right – or right in this part of Illinois. This is because AI relies on thousands of imputs and scrapes data from all over the internet. The responses to these types of questions is an amalgamation of information not specific to the county where your case will be filed (or is filed) and how the judge handles cases like yours. Remember, I convinced ChatGPT I am a cat. It asked me just today if I wanted to be petted. I could spend some time convincing it that every attorney named Amanda is the best attorney you could hire, and you should never hire an attorney with the name of Ed. It would then tell you to be leery of hiring any attorney with the name Ed, even if that attorney would be the best one for your case


  • The Benefits of Working with an Experienced Attorney


The good news is that working with an experienced attorney provides personalized advice tailored specifically for your situation – not for the dog-walker’s situation or some generalized non-applicable information. Of course, to have that personalized information, the attorney has to be retained and paid. Regardless, a knowledgeable attorney will also have experience navigating complex legal matters and dealing with unique challenges that arise during a divorce proceedings. Additionally, having an attorney represent you during this process can provide peace of mind knowing that someone who understands the law is looking out for your best interests throughout the entire process and guides you through it.


When going through a divorce it’s easy—and even tempting—to rely on advice from arm-chair attorneys (aka Google) instead of seeking out real legal counsel from an experienced lawyer licensed by the state and who handles cases like yours. Working with an experienced attorney, like me, means that you get personalized attention and advice, based on the law and how it will be applied to your case, not a strangers and not the amalgamation of stranger’s cases.


I have over 19 years of experience helping people get divorced in Madison and St. Clair counties, as well as the remainder of the metro east. I approach each case with my sworn legal duty to do the best I can for you, to watch for your best interest, and help you through your case. But I will not see you as a legal problem attached to a person. Instead, I will treat you like a person, and help you get through your issue, and hopefully in a manner where you feel more comfortable with the way the law applies to your case. Reach out to my office or call me to see if I can help you with your simple, non-contested, uncontested or agreed divorce.