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What to Do When Reddit Lawyers Advise Your Client

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By George Khoury, Esq. on August 20, 2018 12:55 PM

With the number of online resources available these days, it's a wonder that Reddit still exists. The site is well known for being a cesspool of negativity combined with pessimism and anti-establishment hysterics.

Yet, there's actually a chance that one day you might end up with a client who posts their legal question on r/legaladvice, either before or after coming to you. And if you don't closely monitor the message board (which you should if you need to laugh, and if you're a lawyer, you probably need to laugh as often as possible), you might be surprised to find out that, pretty regularly, and though often crass and unsympathetic, there's some solid legal advice there.

Step 1: Read What the Redditors Said

When your client asks you why you aren't pursuing certain strategies, you might want to ask where they got that idea from. If they tell you about a post on Reddit, make them show you, then read everything.

Sometimes, some of the posters on Reddit actually know what they're talking about AND are not trolling the person posting the question. Yes, that's unusual for Reddit, but as Vice makes clear, r/legaladvice is a much different experience from the Reddit most folk know and love/hate. So, it's safe to say, if your client has posted a Reddit thread, you should see what people are saying. On the r/legaladvice board, page moderators aggressively delete comments that are abusive and/or doling out bad legal advice.

Step 2: Charge by the Hour

While it may seem awkward, or offensive, to have your work monitored by Redditors, you can at very least set your client's anxieties at ease and read what they have to say. As mentioned above, you might be surprised by the quality, and you can thank the moderators for the cleanliness. After reviewing the replies, you may want to sit your client down to explain why you're doing things the way you are. If you charge by the hour, consider this a boon for business (unless you decide to no charge for this).

Often clients attempt to do their own research, or post questions, when they are nervous about asking their lawyer a question, or are unsure about why their lawyer is taking a certain course of action.

Step 3: Talk to Your Client

After you've read all you can read on Reddit, talk with your client. If they're posting online for legal advice from strangers, clearly they need to talk to a lawyer, and since that's you, take the opportunity to make sure you answer all their questions. Client communication is important, and recognizing when your client needs communication is critical to keeping clients happy.

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