Legal Information vs Legal Advice

Legal Information vs Legal Advice

What’s the difference between legal information and legal advice? Let’s examine the difference between the two and see which is the better for you.

A Map

Imagine that this is your first time going up a mountain with a mountaineering club. You hold a map which shows that the trail going from the base camp up to the top of the mountain. The map shows a couple of trails that you can use to go to the top, and gives you the choice of how to proceed.

There are two things that I want you to notice about the map:

First the map shows you general directions to the place that you want to go to. It’s applicable to anybody reading the map, and gives the broad strokes of how you should proceed.

Next, the information on the map is based on the information available at that time the mapmaker examined the place and put all of the information down on the map. It may not be updated with recent facts and updates which are relevant to your trip.

For example, what if there was heavy rainfall the past week and a particular trail was blocked by a landslide? What if the local government recently declared a trail off-limits to allow the plants to regenerate? Or, what if there was a new trail that opened up a week before you went on the trip that cuts travel by 15 minutes or more.

A Mountain Guide

Now, let’s imagine that you have a mountain guide going up the mountain trail with you. This is so much better than just having a map in your hands. Why?

Feedback. You can talk to the guide and ask questions. If something is unclear to you regarding your trip, you can easily ask him. The map can’t talk or interview you.

Customized trip. You can tell your guide about specific needs you have and you can work with him to accommodate them. Are you taking the trip to take awesome photographs? Then your guide could show you all the great photo sites and make frequent stops so you can take pictures. Do you have backpain? Your guide can help carry your backpack.

Updated and real-time info. Your guide knows the general direction to go, but he can tell you where the danger spots are on the road that might not be obvious on the map. On the trail, there might be a snake on the side of the road. Your guide’s practiced eye would be able to detect it and warn you and pull you off in case you get too close to it. I’m pretty sure that the map would not be able to take this circumstance into account.

It’s the same thing when it comes to legal subjects. Legal information gives general descriptions and guidance about legal subjects. This is what you find in your textbooks and articles on the Internet. This is what the articles on are composed of.

On the other hand, legal advice is the application of the information your particular situation. This is the guy telling you what direction to go to and the best way to get to with considering your needs and your resources the adviser is the guy who tells you where the bumps in the road are and where the hazards can be found. It’s real-time advice and feedback to get you where you want to go using the quickest and most efficient route possible.

So which one is better? If you have the resources and access to advisers, of course you should go for legal advice.

Legal information has its place as a starting point or as a tool to familiarize you with where you are going, but in the end go for legal advice so that you can get customize assistance for your particular needs.

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