Research Shows Decline in Relying on Friends and Family for Legal Advice
NEW YORK, Sept. 6 LAWFUEL – Legal News Network — Forget online dating, blogging or even emails — it’s divorce court and fender benders that are bringing Americans online today.
That’s because almost three times as many U.S. adults today turn to the Internet to get advice and information about legal matters than they did six years ago (27% in 2006 versus 10% in 2000)(i), according to a new
survey conducted by Harris Interactive(R)
(http://www.harrisinteractive.com) and commissioned by lawyers.com
(http://www.lawyers.com), the most comprehensive and trustworthy online
resource from LexisNexis (http://www.lexisnexis.com) for finding lawyers.
Mom and Dad Losing Ground to the Web as Top Source for Legal Advice
Other than family and friends (31%), the Internet is now the single
biggest source for legal information, outpacing books and
newspaper/magazine articles, which came in at just 12%. In fact, the
percentage of consumers who rely on the Internet for legal counsel has
nearly tripled in recent years (10% in 2000 vs. 27% in 2006), while the
percentage that rely on friends and family has declined by about a third
(49% in 2000 vs. 31% in 2006).
“Traditional sources of legal advice, such as friends and family, are
on the decline today as consumers increasingly turn to widely-available
online resources to become better informed about their legal rights and
responsibilities. The challenge is knowing what information is
trustworthy,” said attorney Alan Kopit, legal editor of lawyers.com.
“Consumers need to look to reputable Web sites and investigate the source
of legal information they find online before they rely on it.”
“People have unprecedented access to legal information that had once
been only the purview of legal professionals — everything from a checklist for preparing for a divorce to access to lawyers’ credentials — in a way that was never possible before,” said Kopit.
Majority of U.S. Adults Using Lawyers; Top Reason is for Estate
Two out of three U.S. adults today have used a lawyer at least once in their lives, about the same percent as in 2000 (65% in 2006 vs. 68% in
2000). As was the case six years ago, the single biggest reason lawyers are hired today is to handle estate planning, like creating wills. Forty-six percent of those U.S. adults who have hired a lawyer say that is what drove them there, a similar percent as in 2000 (51%).
About the 2006 Survey
Harris Interactive(R) conducted the telephone survey on behalf of
lawyers.com from LexisNexis within the United States between June 22 and
25, 2006 among 1,018 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex,
race/ethnicity and region were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. With a pure
probability sample of 1,018 adults one could say with a ninety-five percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points. However that does not take other sources of error into account.
Lawyers.com(SM) (http://www.lawyers.com), from LexisNexis, is the
leading lawyer directory on the Web, providing consumers and small
businesses access to a free database of more than 440,000 attorneys and law
firms nationwide. Lawyers.com helps site visitors make a fast, informed
decision when choosing a lawyer. More than one million searches per month
are conducted at lawyers.com by consumers and business people in search of
the right lawyer for their needs.
LexisNexis(R) (http://www.lexisnexis.com) is a leading provider of
information and services solutions, including its flagship Web-based
Lexis(R) and Nexis(R) research services, to a wide range of professionals
in the legal, risk management, corporate, government, law enforcement,
accounting and academic markets. A member of Reed Elsevier Group plc (NYSE:
ENL; NYSE: RUK) (http://www.reedelsevier.com), LexisNexis serves customers in 100
countries with 13,000 employees worldwide.
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is the 12th largest and fastest-growing market
research firm in the world. The company provides research-driven insights
and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions
which lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance. Harris
Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll, one of the longest
running, independent opinion polls and for pioneering online market
research methods. The company has built what could conceivably be the
world’s largest panel of survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online.
Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States,
Europe and Asia offices, its wholly-owned subsidiary Novatris in France and
through a global network of independent market research firms. The service
bureau, HISB, provides its market research industry clients with mixed-mode
data collection, panel development services as well as syndicated and
tracking research consultation. More information about Harris Interactive
may be obtained at http://www.harrisinteractive.com. To become a member of the
Harris Poll Online, visit http://www.harrispollonline.com.
(i) Respondents were asked “Besides a lawyer, where do you obtain
and information regarding legal matters?”