Why do people need legal advisors (I’m not referring to litigators) if all the laws can be found on the Internet?
Good question, and the answer is simple and clear:
There are many times when people need legal experts (and that usually means lawyers) to advise them—even though all the laws can be found on the Internet—because even if you know where a law can be found that does not mean you know what the law means or how it applies or functions.
While some laws could be compared to instruction sheets or recipes, i.e., “If this and this happens, then that is the consequence,” other laws define terms, other laws give judges a range of and limitations to their authority (called discretion), other laws describe the elements of crimes or civil causes of action that have to be met to “win” the case.
Even if you read a particular law, rule, or regulation, there is a large legal vocabulary you would need to understand to make sense of them. Do you know what a tortfeasor is? A prima face case? An ex parte motion? A percipient witness? You get the idea.
Even if you read a particular law, rule, and/or regulation and believed you understood how the courts and government agencies apply them, your belief would not matter if the interpretation and construction of the law were declared to be something else by the Supreme Court, or by some other applicable appellate court or by the agency that is responsible for interpreting and construing rules and regulations.
Worse, the interpretation and construction of laws changes. Just look at how the meaning and application of the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution have changed and developed over time. So unless you are keeping up with these developments and know where to find the current interpretations and construction (to say nothing of ensuring that laws and rules you find online weren’t repealed some time in the past but nobody bothered to update the website), you can—and should—seek the help of specialists and experts on the subject of law, its creation, its meaning, and its application.
This is why simply knowing where to find a law does not mean you would necessarily know what it means or how it applies and thus not how it affects or may affect you.
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