Don’t “Ask a Lawyer” on a Domain Forum

The legal section of a domain forum is a popular place for people to ask domain name related questions pertaining to trademarks, UDRP, legal threats, and other legal-related topics. I don’t think it’s wise to post specific legal questions in a public domain name forum, but plenty of people value getting some / any feedback over the potential that it could harm their case or lead them astray.

As I’ve written in the past, it is wise to get the advice of a domain name attorney who has experience and expertise in Intellectual Property Law, specifically related to domain names. There are quite a few exceptional attorneys who have many years of experience helping domain investors with many different legal issues.

One thing I’ve noticed many times is people posting questions on forums – or even Twitter – and asking a specific lawyer for advice or feedback. Sometimes it’s the original forum poster who requests advice from a lawyer and other times it is someone who noticed the thread and tagged a lawyer to give insight or advice. Yes, it is smart to ask a lawyer for legal advice, but I think it is unwise and disrespectful to ask for it on a forum or public venue.

Most lawyers are compensated based on the time they spend answering a legal question or resolving an issue. Their years of experience allows them to offer expert counsel, and it has taken many years to gain the experience necessary to become an expert. Aside from the potential issue of malpractice, a lawyer posting legal advice on a forum is giving their services away for free. In addition, it takes away their time from clients who are actually paying for their services. In essence, a lawyer would be harming his or her own practice to enrich a domain investor who doesn’t want to pay for that advice.

Getting advice from a domain name lawyer is a very good idea. Every industry lawyer I have worked with has been straightforward with me, provided at least a very close estimate on the time it would take to resolve or review an issue, and has provided exceptional service and counsel. Consulting with an experienced lawyer may add a cost, but not seeking experienced counsel could be costly. Just don’t ask a lawyer to give free advice on a public venue – I think it’s disrespectful.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. I dont know that I agree. I get questions all the time in my area of expertise. I can usually determine if a person is trying to get something free. I dont mind lending quick advice. Certainly if I feel a fee should be charged, I am direct.

    Much of my business starts with simple questions.

    • Elliot can’t really help himself. He does have a number of good qualities, but he is also very much a “friend of the establishment.” They know it, and somewhere in his mind he knows it too. And such friends are usually well rewarded. Like the company that invented the Russian bots for the Russagate saga for instance. (And don’t think that means I play for the red team either. I play for neither.)

  2. There have been many times when I’ve felt there should be some of the lawyers commenting, but they almost never do except when Berryhill shows up. I have found that when you go to see a lawyer for the first time, they basically never ever ever ever actually want to say anything at all of substance. So the idea of an “initial consultation” is pretty much a myth right up there with the suggestion either neolibs or neocons actually care about the American people. You can try during that initial visit even when you yourself know quite a bit about the law, but don’t expect to get anywhere usually. Go see five or ten, you can expect the same pattern. So I think they basically bring that mentality and “occupational ethos” into the blogs and forums – by not bringing anything into the blogs and forums. Not even a crumb.

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