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How to Ask FindLaw Answers a Question That's Likely to Get Answered

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By Nicole Johnson, JD on June 08, 2011 9:50 AM

We know you have pressing real-world legal questions, and the FindLaw Answers community wants to help you sort them out.

You may wonder where to get information about a specific family issue, or just need to know the best way to handle a noisy neighbor.

But what good is asking a question on FindLaw Answers if it doesn't catch the attention of someone who can actually help you answer it?

We want your question to rise to the top and get answered quickly by someone who is able to shed some light on your situation.

To that end, here are some tips for creating the kind of question that is most likely to get answered on FindLaw Answers.

Search the Archives

The first step is to search the archives to make sure someone hasn't already started a conversation about your topic. Believe it or not, many questions have already been answered and the community is less likely to answer a question that has already been answered several times before.

Choose the Correct Folder

Try to choose the correct topic folder. This will not only expose your topic to community members who are in the best position to help you find the right legal information, it will also help others searching for your topic.

One way of doing this is to think about what the main part of your legal issue is all about. For example, if you were recently fired for stealing computer equipment, you might be tempted to put your question in the Employment Law folder since the outcome was that you got fired. But, if your main concern is that you were accused of theft and you are trying to defend yourself against that claim, then you are really dealing with a criminal law matter.

Choose a Good Title

Try to make your topic's title as detailed and clear as possible, using words that describe your legal issue. Using one-word titles like "Help!!!" or "P-L-E-A-S-E," might not inspire someone to read and comment on your post. A good example for a family law question might be "California Child Custody Question." Notice how this is descriptive and detailed, and gets to the heart of what the question is about.

Be Descriptive

It's much easier for the community to help you find the right legal information or services when they know what your problem is. Getting a response to an open-ended "what will happen next: question will always take longer than a detailed "This is what wrong, this is what I've done thus far, and this is the information I'm trying to find." Try to stick to the facts without over doing it, making sure to include the state where the situation took place and under what circumstances. 

Omit Personal and Identifying Information

For safety and security reasons, you'll want to omit any personal or other information that would allow someone else to figure out it is you asking the question. For example, you wouldn't want your boss or co-workers to know you're thinking of suing them, nor would you want your abusive ex-husband to know you are planning to move out of state with his children. This includes information such as your email address, your real name, where you live, your phone number, or even what mall you shop at. Also, if your legal issue involves a business, avoid using the name of the business. use a description of the type of business instead.

Use Correct Grammar and Punctuation

We promise you aren't being graded here, but a post that is free from spelling and punctuation errors will help the community better understand the nature of the problem.

Also, whether you use 1st person ("I"), 2nd person ("you," "your," "yours") or 3rd person ("he," "she," "they"), keep it consistent throughout your post.

Finally, check out the community guidelines for more tips on asking legal questions on FindLaw Answers. 

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