Interpreting and applying the law to your unique situation can be intimidating and is best left to the professionals. Even a seemingly straightforward question, “Can my landlord increase my rent?” requires a trained eye.
Canadian law schools train students through the careful study of thousands of legal cases in order to learn how the law works. Through articling and work as associates they gain experience to become better able to apply those legal principles to everyday scenarios.
For example, the landlord that raises rent by a substantial amount. Does this contravene the law? The answer is often that it depends.
A lawyer with lots of practice could simply review the lease and apply the applicable laws that govern the relationship between the landlord and the tenant.
However, not every question will require a lawyer's involvement, at least not a first. Here are three ways that the world of technology have made it easier to get legal help without hiring a lawyer:
Before Google and Wikipedia became common practice the only way to get legal advice was to contact a lawyer. They were the only people who knew how to resolve issues and charge for their services (and a merry penny!) to share that knowledge.
Today that monopoly is being challenged by the internet and artificial intelligence solutions, such as ROSS Intelligence and coSquare. Furthermore, some law firms, legal clinics, and non-profits have released easy to read blogs and FAQ’s to help people understand their legal rights.
Many provinces provide government-funded legal aid, and a limited number of legal questions can be answered by email or over the phone.
The internet has certainly made it easier to feel like a part of a broader community. Human beings are social, and they crave social interaction, the exchange of information, and the learning process that comes with it. Lawyers are no different.
It's not uncommon to see lawyers interact with other lawyers on social media platforms, discussing new laws and what those mean for their clients.
The legal community is omnipresent on discussion boards like Quora, Reddit, and Stack Exchange as well. A quick search on Law Stack Exchange yields roughly 18,000 legal threads currently active, showing just how passionate people are to share helpful information where possible.
But how do you find the answer to YOUR specific question? Many of the answers on those platforms are provided by non-lawyers or might not be applicable in the city or country where you live.
Luckily, there are websites like coSquare - a Q&A platform that's created specifically for legal discussions .
Passing on this acquired knowledge to others can be done in a multitude of creative ways. Historically, humans will do that with whatever is available to them: cave paintings, art, music… we want to share what’s inside our heads with others. The internet age is no different: lawyers use cartoons, blogs, podcasts, and videos to convey their ideas to the public.
Comprehensive blogs that break down laws and legal procedures, interpreting their meaning to the general public- people with questions, like you and me. These are treasure troves for many consumers of legal services seeking free legal answers, that only 100 years ago would require hiring a lawyer to get.
Lawyers are not just good with the written word: some of them have even tried to conquer TikTok, spreading the word of law with Jay-Z's raps in the backdrop. Wherever you get your information: infographics, Youtube, podcast- you can bet there is a lawyer in that sphere looking to teach.
And while more complex cases still require a lawyer’s involvement, recent advancements in technology, collaboration, and content have certainly made it much easier to get legal help without hiring a legal professional.