What is legal literacy?

Legal literacy is the empowerment of individuals regarding issues involving the law.  Understanding certain legal matters does not require a law degree or a huge financial investment.  By having certain knowledge, people can often save money, save time, and maximize the possibility of obtaining their desired outcome.  In other words, people often contact attorneys and request documents, but may not understand what they are receiving or they may not realize there are simpler and less expensive methods to achieve a specific goal.  Legal literacy helps to minimize this occurrence.

What is an example of legal literacy?  A woman contacts an attorney and requests a trust because her neighbor has told her they are good to have when doing estate planning.  Often times in situations like this, a trust is prepared since it is requested; however, the woman walks away not really understanding the purpose of the trust she received or how the trust works.  Furthermore, there may have been a different course of action, that was more suitable for the woman, to accomplish her goal.  Please note this example is not implying the attorney did anything wrong, however, it simply expresses that with legal literacy, there will be greater understanding and perhaps more desirable results.

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