Why I caution against you considering
general information to be legal advice
“Legal Advice” is different than general legal information
The essence of legal advice is that a lawyer learns the details of your specific story and then designs a strategy to try to make it more likely that you will get the result you want in your specific circumstances. This may require extensive legal research.
I have not agreed to give you legal advice, and I have not even agreed to hear your confidential information to decide whether to give you legal advice. It might be unethical for me to give you legal advice, because of the rules against conflicts of interest and for other reasons.
Web sites such as www.TimsLaw.com cannot know the specifics of your particular situation. But web sites can raise your awareness about some of the options that people in your situation can consider. Whether or not you should exercise a particular legal option is a different question. Many people will find a lawyer’s advice helpful in deciding what actions to take.
This web site just talks about the law and the legal process in a general fashion; it does not design a strategy for your specific circumstances.
Lawyers must spend a lot of time in detailed interviews with clients to discover the unique facts and circumstances of the case, and then the lawyers structure their advice accordingly.
That’s impossible with a legal information web site. Sometimes the best strategic approach to solving a legal problem is not to exercise our legal rights, depending on the circumstances. Sometimes the best approach is to exercise our legal rights in an atypical way, rather than the more common way, depending on the circumstances. It really is case by case.
This web site talks about the law and the legal system in general, and is not specific to you and your unique situation.
Lawyers are encouraged by the bar associations to provide the public service of talking about the law and the legal system.
That’s one of the means whereby the public learns about its rights and obligations.
It often takes a long time for information about the law, and changes in the law, to finally reach those who need to know. Lawyers learn about the law by reading legal publications, in the news, attending seminars, talking with other lawyers, and by studying court cases.
Lawyers develop their own, often differing, personal opinions about what the laws actually mean for people. Lawyers pass along this information and their opinions. Some lawyers have radio programs. Some publish newsletters. Some give talks to groups. Some give interviews to the news media. And some have websites.
I have not performed any legal research to see how the reported court cases have dealt with situations like those present in your specific case. My website just gives a lot of general information about job-related law and how the legal system tends to handle common employment issues.
Much of the information I present on this website is my personal view of the law regarding common general legal concepts. I cannot guarantee that every judge will agree with my view in all cases.
Many lawyers will disagree with a lot of what I say here. My opinions about what the laws mean are based mostly on my own interpretation of the laws and the court decisions that apply to Missouri residents, regarding common general issues.
If you are not a Missouri resident, then please understand that your rights may differ dramatically from what I talk about on this site, because of different laws in your home state and also because of the decisions of the courts that cover your area.
The courts that sit in different jurisdictions often have vastly, polar opposite, views about the meaning of some parts of the laws, so that residents of Missouri may have different rights and remedies than, say, Illinois residents, under similar discrimination laws. See a lawyer in your local area.
By the time you read this web site, it’s always possible that some of the information may have become obsolete and I just have not noticed it yet. The law changes frequently, because new court decisions come out all the time. These court decisions tell lawyers new things about what the language of a statute means to judges, and what kinds of factual situations will be valid or invalid in the future. The statutes mean what judges say they mean, and different judges are speaking every day (through court decisions) about what the statutes mean.
Since I am completely ignorant of your specific circumstances, I cannot predict what a judge will do in your specific situation.
In deciding cases, Judges use broad legal principles set down by higher courts, and work within certain constraints set down by the actual language of the laws and statutes, and they apply those principles to the unique facts of the case at hand. Each person’s situation is different, and seemingly minor variations in facts can make all the difference in the world to the judge.
A law does not necessarily mean what it appears to mean. A law means what a judge says it means in the context of the unique facts and circumstances of your case. So the law is not black and white; it’s shades of gray. On this web site, I can only talk about my understanding of the general outlines of the law; I cannot speak to how the legal system might apply the law in your situation, because I don’t know your situation.
There may be many exceptions to a seemingly clear law. Does your situation fit within an exception? Who knows? Certainly this web site doesn’t know. If an exception applies to your case, that might change the strategy you should follow. I do not know enough about your case to help you decide what strategy is best.
I hope the above gives you some idea of the limitations of a general legal information web site.
To read about the law on a web site is merely to scratch the surface. If you think you might need legal advice, you probably do. If you act as your own lawyer based on the general information you got off a web site, well, you know the old saying.
Phil is a Missouri employment lawyer who is licensed to practice in Kansas and Missouri, and primarily takes cases in Saint Louis and Kansas City.
He is a member of the Missouri Bar Association and Kansas Bar Association.
Additionally, he has practiced in the United States Federal Courts of Missouri in St. Louis and Kansas City.
He has also practiced in the Kansas Federal District Court in Kansas City, Kansas.