Data on people’s reliance on the Internet for legal problems

A recent study by IAALS at Univ. of Denver and HiiL profiles how people in the US deal with legal problems, including where they turn for help. This legal needs study, “US Justice Needs”, gathers information that profiles how people seek help (or don’t) for legal problems.

Here are some of the graphs that present how people use the Internet. These are representative of the general US population (not just low income people).

The first finding is that 17% of the surveyed respondents turn to the Internet to get information about their legal problems.

HiiL/IAALs study on legal info behavior

This chart shows where people turn. The Internet ranks as the primary place where people seek help. The Internet ranks higher than friends, family, lawyers, government agencies, courts or legal aid.

So when people go online, where do they look?

HiiL/IAALs presentation on US Justice Needs

This first graph shows what sources people use online. This includes:

  • Search Engines
  • Websites
  • Online Forums
  • Social Media
  • Podcasts

The self-reported websites people turn to include those from:

  • Government agencies
  • Lawyers
  • Online legal services
  • Nonprofits
  • Legal aid
  • Court help centers
  • Court main websites

This data may be skewed. Based on our data collection, many people end up on private news, lawyer, and how-to sites when they search for legal problems.

Most of the legal sites don’t refer people to other resources.

For people who use social media, they report using Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms. This information is a few years old, so this might switch to other platforms.

Explore the IAALS/HiiL study on US Justice Needs at their site.

MargaretData on people’s reliance on the Internet for legal problems