About Ask a Lawyer

For Everyone
What is Justia Ask a Lawyer?

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum where people can get answers to their basic legal questions on a variety of topics. Consumers post questions, and attorneys answer.

Who can ask a question?

Anyone with a Justia account can post a question for a lawyer to review. Register for your free Justia account here.

Do I need to register?

You do not need to register to view answers, but you must have a free Justia account to post a question. Registering also allows you to be notified by email when a lawyer answers your question. Registration requires a valid email address.

Who can answer a question?

Only attorneys with a Justia account can answer questions. As part of the registration process for attorneys, Justia reviews a lawyer's credentials to ensure that at the time of registration, he or she is licensed to practice law. Registered attorneys also have profiles in the Justia Lawyer Directory -- you may visit those profiles to review their qualifications for yourself.

Why would lawyers answer my question for free?

In return for answering questions, attorneys receive points that translate into higher placement in our Justia Lawyer Directory. At Justia, we believe in doing well by doing good. We want to reward lawyers for providing legal information and contributing to the growing amount of free legal content online.

Should submitting a question to Justia Ask a Lawyer be a substitute for meeting in person with a lawyer or hiring a lawyer in my area?

Absolutely not. Most legal matters are complicated and require the advice of an attorney. Justia Ask a Lawyer is a place to get started, get some ideas, and maybe even find a lawyer in your area who can help you. Answers provided on this forum do not constitute legal advice, nor is does a lawyer’s response to your question create an attorney–client relationship.

What should I include in a question?

You should include enough information so that a lawyer could provide answers to basic legal questions.

What should I not include in a question?

Do not include names, contact or identifying information of any sort.
* Note: Disclosure of any information regarding the prior, ongoing, or future commission of a crime may expose you to liability, criminal charges, or both.

For Lawyers

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a moderated forum where persons seeking legal services can request answers to basic legal questions from an attorney.

How can I participate in Justia Ask a Lawyer?

Bar-licensed attorneys may answer questions on Justia Ask a Lawyer. To verify your status as a licensed attorney, you must claim your profile in the Justia Lawyer Directory by clicking the red "Update your profile now" link directly below your name on your profile page. Once you have claimed your profile, you will be able to answer questions. You can also add a photo or update the information in your profile. If there is not already a profile for you, you may create a new one here.

Once you are registered with Justia, sign in at Justia Ask a Lawyer. You can view questions by practice area and jurisdiction. If you find a question to which you can competently provide an answer, you can click on the "Answer this Question" button to respond.

How do I know when there is a new unanswered question?

New questions appear at the top of the Ask a Lawyer page for that practice area and/or jurisdiction.

Is there a way to get immediate notifications of new questions?

If you sign up for Justia Ask a Lawyer email notifications, you will receive a new email each time a new question is posted in your selected practice area(s) and/or location(s). Receiving notifications increases the odds that you will be the first to answer a new question, which results in extra Leaderboard points, and may even assist you in connecting with potential clients sooner. You can update your notification settings here.

What do I get for answering questions?

When you answer a question, your response will be publicly displayed on the question page along with your profile photo, if you provided one, and a link back to your profile in the Justia Lawyer Directory. If the person asking the question wants to contact you for further assistance, he or she can obtain your phone number or send you an email from your lawyer profile page.

In addition, Justia will award attorneys who provide answers with karma points. These points will reflect your level of contribution to Justia Ask a Lawyer, and will be used to recognize attorneys who have provided significant service to the Justia Ask a Lawyer community.

How many points will I get for answering questions?

You will earn between 10 and 50 points for each answer you give depending on a number of factors.

The base points are:

  • The first lawyer to answer a question earns 50 points
  • The second lawyer to answer the same question earns 30 points
  • Additional lawyers who answer the question earn 20 points.

Attorneys who answer a question from a jurisdiction(s) outside of where they are licensed will receive half the number of points as compared to attorneys who answer questions within their jurisdiction(s). For example, if you are an injury attorney in California, and you are the first lawyer to answer an injury law question from Florida, you will receive 25 points for that answer instead of the 50 points normally awarded.

Are there other ways to earn points?

Next to every answer are "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" icons. A "thumbs up" is a positive vote for your answer. If another attorney gives your answer a "thumbs up," you will earn an extra 5 points. A "thumbs up" from a non-lawyer will give you an additional 1 point.

A "thumbs down" is a negative vote, and carries the same weight as a positive vote. For example, if an attorney has a positive vote from another attorney, and a negative vote from a non-lawyer, the score will be 4 points (5-1). Users will not accrue negative points from a thumbs down--the score will be set to 0.

What Are the Top Contributor Leaderboards?

Top contributor leaderboards listing attorneys with the most points appear throughout the Justia Ask a Lawyer site - placement on these boards will drive traffic to your profile and help you attract new clients. Each state and practice area has its own leaderboard, and there are also combined state/practice area leaderboards. These specific leaderboards can be found on the sidebar when browsing or reading questions in that practice area or state.

A general leaderboard lists top contributors across all states and practice areas. The general leaderboard is displayed on the sidebar of the Justia Ask a Lawyer homepage.

Leaderboards are available for the last 7 days, the last 30 days, the current month to date, the current year to date, and all time. At the end of each month, the current monthly top contributor list is recorded in an archive.

Those attorneys who are listed on a monthly leaderboard receive a special badge that is displayed on their Justia Lawyer Directory profile. This badge tells potential clients that you are active in contributing free online content.

What is the level that shows up next to my name?

As you earn points, you are awarded a rank or a "Level" based on the total number of points you have earned. The levels are as follows:

Level 1 1 point
Level 2 100 points
Level 3 250 points
Level 4 500 points
Level 5 1,000 points
Level 6 5,000 points
Level 7 20,000 points
Level 8 50,000 points
Level 9 100,000 points
Level 10 250,000 points
Level 11 500,000 points
What should I include in an answer?

You should offer thoughtful responses tailored to a user's specific circumstances and that provide real legal substance.

What should I not include in an answer?

  • Do not include contact information of any sort in your written answer
    (Note: We already provide your photo, phone, email and website contact information as part of your answer block).
  • Local, state, or federal Codes.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.