I believe it is fairly normal and encouraged on stack overflow. It is common to encounter much more competent expertise on Law.SE than on the open commercial market, and it has often occurred to me in the back of my mind that I would love to correspond more directly and candidly with my interlocutors than the parameters of the site itself allow but never thought it was something that would be okay.

But is it, and why, or why not?

  • I get that this could arguably be more suited to meta, but I view it as well as a question about finding and hiring competent legal help, which I think is certainly in scope here, and prefer to post on site partially because I expect it to get greater exposure. Aug 19, 2022 at 13:59
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    Why do you think the expertise here is better than on the open commercial market? In my experience, the vast majority of people answering questions on Law.SE are actually very, very incompetent, at least with respect to U.S. law. There are probably fewer than a half-dozen users who consistently provide high-quality answers.
    – bdb484
    Aug 19, 2022 at 14:33
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    Also: This question proabably ought to move to meta.
    – bdb484
    Aug 19, 2022 at 14:34
  • I tend to discuss more frequently on UK law, and sure many are not anything special. But it is also rather far from infrequent that one sees answers that blow one away with the levels of rigour and research that go into them and one is impressed by the meticulousness of the minds that would have penned them. Aug 19, 2022 at 14:38
  • Why do you think that? I disagree for reasons explained in my comment above. Aug 19, 2022 at 14:39
  • Yes perhaps but there are many more who merely occasionally contribute answers of nonetheless excellent quality even if they are not such avid users of the site. Aug 19, 2022 at 14:41
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    I rarely see irregular users providing research or citations, or really anything beyond guesswork. Even regular users typically just blurt out a rule without providing any kind of evidence that that rule actually exists. I can only think of three or four people here who I would consider generally reliable. But I'm certainly not reading every question; we may just disagree because we're working with different samples.
    – bdb484
    Aug 19, 2022 at 17:53
  • Yes, I do suspect that is the case. For whatever it's worth, yes, I know even some regular and prolific users who do what you're referring to, and at the same time you are definitely one of my favourite names in terms of consistent quality. <3 I wonder if the difference in perception actually correlates so closely to discrepancies between contributors on the respective jurisdictions of greatest interest between us. Aug 19, 2022 at 17:56
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    You can always create a chat and invite them.
    – Michael
    Aug 19, 2022 at 18:09
  • How does one do that? Aug 19, 2022 at 19:18
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    The second paragraph of this answer has instructions for setting up a chat: meta.stackexchange.com/a/57538/1237335
    – Michael
    Aug 19, 2022 at 21:05

3 Answers 3


Other stack-exchanges, including StackOverflow itself, have seen a certain amount of abuse where participants will form “rings” that upvote each other’s questions and answers, regardless of quality, and then use their supposedly sterling reputation on the exchange as a credential in job interviews.

This has not happened in law.stackexhange.com, so far as I know, but if your proposed practice became common, it might become a problem.

  • Interesting point. Aug 19, 2022 at 17:53
  • Those rings can be formed anyway because users have ways to make themselves reachable outside SE. Also, anyone who conducts candidate screenings should know that this sort of Internet scores are unreliable and largely meaningless. Aug 20, 2022 at 8:39

As well as @Michael Lorton's very valid point about (un)intentional voting abuse, conversing with - and then potentially building a relationship with - anonymous people on the internet brings its own set of particular dangers.

Hi, I'm Rick. Check out my Facebook profile

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    I think this answer is fallacious and silly. One always has to use one's brain and be careful. Looking for firms online and reading their Google maps reviews is also getting leads from listings "on the internet." You could more easily link to your Google maps profile or firm/practice website. I could pay you with a credit card that protects me 0 liability in case of fraud. And everyone would live happily ever after. In most cases these world be relevant mechanisms. In my case the answers themselves are actually a better proof of authentic good faith in that it is almost a prerequisite for Aug 20, 2022 at 10:50
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    ... Learning and researching that much about housing law to be able to write them. I mean you are either an extremely accomplished authority on an area like Colin Yeo, or you need to be intrinsically passionate about tenants' (typically not landlords') rights if you have such deep knowledge of housing and eviction law. Aug 20, 2022 at 10:52
  • The point I was trying to make, evidently not very well, was in answer to: "Is there any reason why it would be bad to form off-site relationships or exchange details with others" exchanging personal information with random people on the internet has its risk. Was my post silly? Maybe, but fallacious? No. In my experience even the most intelligent and diligent people can and have (despite using their brain and being careful) been groomed by proficient and committed organised crime groups and/or lone-actors to fall victim to any number of frauds, malware attacks, click bait scams etc, etc..
    – Rick
    Aug 20, 2022 at 23:26
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    Re: "you are either an extremely accomplished authority [...], or you need to be intrinsically passionate..." Or I could be neither.
    – Rick
    Aug 20, 2022 at 23:32
  • Fair enough. Anyway the SRA exists for a reason?.. Aug 21, 2022 at 6:42
  • Apart from a vague reference to an "open commercial market" your question didn't mention anything about lawyers. But it did ask about forming relationships, exchanging details and corresponding with others - so I answered in that vein. Also, as an aside, there are other professions apart from lawyers that require broad and indepth knowledge and understanding of the law and its application.
    – Rick
    Aug 21, 2022 at 12:26

Is there any reason why it would be bad to form professional relationships [...]

Law-SE professional relationships could be attorney-client relationships. Attorney advertisement is extremely regulated. Oh, and forbidden on the stack.

[...] or exchange details with others [...]?

Do you mean like case details or contact to a law office they work at? That could be giving Legal Advice, which is banned on the stack, or again, Attorney advertisement, which is highly regulated, and banned on the stack.

If the user wasn't even a licensed attorney and they assisted with particular legal advice or acted as a paralegal, that'd be illegal unlicensed practice of law.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – feetwet Mod
    Aug 21, 2022 at 14:31

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