IANAL? Necessary?

I’ve read other threads where legal advice or opinion is given, and the standard disclaimers are mentioned. In other cases, where actual lawyers give advice or opinion, they make other disclaimers saying that, “they are not that person’s laywer, and that person is not that lawyer’s client”.

I know this has to do with avoiding the appearance of creating an attorney-client relationship, and is understandable. However, my question is, has any real life lawyer ever given advice or opinon in such an annonymous setting such as a forum or usenet, and had tht action of giving advice cause them legal problems as a result of negligence, erroneous information, or any other type of legal problem that can result if the disclaimers were not given?

Has there ever been a case where there was a successful civil or criminal action against an actual lawyer who gave such annonymous advice without making such disclaimers?

I think the IANAL thang is a courtesy to the other readers - i.e. you’re giving it your best shot, but admit that you could be mistaken, beacause, YANAL.

As for your second question, IANA legal historian, so I don’t know.

I also am curious why more lawyers on the boards don’t put in a standard IANYL comment.

I think that all of us non-lawyers should from this day forward, put IANAL in our sig lines.

Lawyers should put IANYL in their sig lines , just to be safe.

Mostly it’s a courtesy, but there’s a certain teensy tiny element of CYA in it. It’s a crime in most jursisdictions to falsely hold oneself as an attorney, and if you do so you can be liable for malpractice to the same degree as a lawyer who offered your advice. As far as I know no posters here have never unwittingly or wittingly created a false impression that they were an attorney, with one amusing exception.

The beauty of the SDMB is that on any given day, you can be anyone or anything you want to be. Why, just today, I decided to be a potato chip. Tomorrow I may claim to be a brain surgeon. If you take 90% of the answers on this board as gospel…well, good luck to you in life. Ask your mom, she’ll never lie to you. :smiley:

Yes, but rest assured, if you hold yourself out to be a lawyer and your posts here would seem to indicate otherwise, the sharks of the SDMB will smell blood and descend on you like a contingency fee. :smiley: Cite.

What’s the exception, pravnik.

BTW, Bone, the answer to your question is yes.


The pit thread flaying of the poster in cite, supra, by Bricker, Jodi, and Rhum Rhunner, inter alia.


Ok, if the answer is yes, can you [or anyone] point me to a case, civil or criminal, where there was successful action against a person who held themselves out to be a lawyer in an annonymous online setting? I just haven’t been able to find anything like that, maybe my sleuthing skills need improving.

Online setting, I don’t know. If I have the time when I get back to my office later in the week I’ll browse a bit and I’m sure I can come up with an analagous off-line situation.


“On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” --Some cartoon dog