I think a Legal Stack Overflow would be an excellent resource. Why doesn't such a thing exist? If it doesn't, I'd like to create one.
I asked a question and was given legal advice by BigSchween03 on your website. Apparently his
claim that it was perfectly legal to "take what's yours" wasn't based on current jurisprudence.
I was subsequently arrested and jailed for over a year. During the term of my incarceration, I was beaten and suffered degrading treatment by my co-inmates.
Because of this bad legal advice your website gave me, I am now suing you for everything you have ever owned, including that Star Wars lego set with the Hoth rebel base you loved when you were 7. I will be joined in my lawsuit by everybody else who got bad legal advice from users on your website.
Now, if you will excuse me, I have some more legal questions about my upcoming case I must submit to the community.
The law stackexchange is available:
I'm sorry to see that 3 Area51 proposals related to law were closed in 2012, and wonder if there is still interest in a revised approach.
Re the liability concerns, there is substantial protection in at least one big state. This is from the Wikipedia article on perhaps the largest existing online law site, Nolo.com:
In 1997, the Texas Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee (a committee of the Texas Supreme Court) opened investigations on Nolo and similar publishers, inquiring as to whether their publications constituted the practicing law without a licence. Saying that the investigation was "the first step toward widespread state censorship", Nolo sued, seeking a declaratory judgment that its publications were legal. It was joined in the action by the American Association of Law Libraries and the Texas Library Association. In response, the Texas Legislature enacted HR 1507, which expressly exempted websites and textbooks from accusations of practicing law without a license, providing they "clearly and conspicuously state that the products are not a substitute for the advice of an attorney". In light of this, the court committee dropped its contest of Nolo's suit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nolo.com
I think this would be great, but I don't think it can work.
I am not a lawyer (blah blah), but I have a few lawyers in my family, and I have always found law to be an interesting topic (though I have never had any interest in actually practicing). I think that one of the reasons real lawyers would not want to give advice like this is that it is hard for them to know the whole situation in this type of forum, so they would not be able to give sound advice, and also, a lawyer giving legal advice may establish an attorney-client relationship in some jurisdictions, regardless of whether any fees were paid. This can mean the lawyer can be bound to certain obligations, such as attorney-client privilege. Likewise, discussing legal matters in a public forum may not make a whole lot of sense.
That being said, it would be awesome if there was a site like SO where I could research law-related questions that pop into my head, and get well-informed responses.
As of 2012, the sites that Adam Davis mentioned are closed.
There are currently two new proposals:
- For businesses and individuals with questions about the law (who to talk to and what paperwork to fill out).
- Legal Doctrine, Policy, Practice, and other law-related topics
- For legal academics, students, practitioners, and others with an interest in or question about the law.