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One in Five Americans Faced a Legal Issue in the Past Year; Common Life Events, Not Just Crime and Lawsuits, Can Use Legal Help; Top Legal Issues: Real Estate, Family Law, Estate Planning, Personal Injury, Traffic Violations, Says FindLaw(R) Survey.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -- Nearly one out of every five Americans faced a legal issue within the last year, according to a new survey by the legal Web site FindLaw ( ).

According to the nationwide survey, 18 percent of American adults said they were involved in at least one legal issue within the last year, meaning an issue where they either used a lawyer or could have used a lawyer. FindLaw has the Internet's largest searchable attorney directory, with more than one million lawyers and legal professionals.

"The fact that one in five of us encounters a legal issue each year vividly illustrates how frequently the law intersects with daily life," said Stacy Stern, vice president of FindLaw. "Many of the tasks we encounter in our lives - buying or selling a house, or writing a will, for example - can be best handled with the right legal information or the help of an attorney."
 The top five legal issues involved:
 21 percent Real Estate (buying/selling, property disputes,
 landlord-tenant disputes, etc.)
 17 percent Family Law (divorce, child custody, etc.)
 12 percent Estate Planning (wills, trust, settling of estates,
 11 percent Personal Injury
 8 percent Traffic Violations

"Legal issues involve a myriad of matters," said Stern, "such as personal finance, estate planning, contracts and employment, not just things like lawsuits and criminal law."

Helpful information on various legal issues, as well as directories for finding an attorney, can be found at Web sites such as the newly expanded FindLaw For The Public ( ), which offers extensive legal information, such as user-friendly articles, guides, forms and FAQ pages to help people and businesses understand and deal with legal issues.

Eighty-one percent of those surveyed said they did not have a legal issue within the last year; one percent were not sure. The percentage of people facing legal issues did not vary significantly by age, gender or income.

The results of the national survey of 1,000 adults has a margin of error of plus-or-minus three percent.

About FindLaw

FindLaw ( ) is the leading provider of online legal information and solutions for the legal community, businesses and individuals. FindLaw's Internet portal is the highest-trafficked legal Web site, according to leading, independent Internet traffic monitoring services.

The site provides comprehensive, plain-English legal information to businesses and individuals. These resources include West Legal Directory(R), the Internet's largest directory of lawyers and legal professionals. FindLaw also offers comprehensive information, resources and services for law practice and legal career development, including free case law, an online career center, breaking legal news, newsletters, message boards, service directories, continuing legal education and legal search tools. In addition, FindLaw provides access to tools and services that help connect legal professionals with potential clients. FindLaw is a division of West, a Thomson business (NYSE: TOC; TSX:TOC), and the foremost provider of integrated information solutions to the U.S. legal market.

About The Thomson Corporation

The Thomson Corporation ( ), with 2001 revenues of $7.2 billion, is a global leader in providing integrated information solutions to business and professional customers. Thomson provides value-added information, software applications and tools to more than 20 million users in the fields of law, tax, accounting, financial services, higher education, reference information, corporate training and assessment, scientific research and healthcare. The Corporation's common shares are listed on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges (NYSE: TOC; TSX: TOC).


Contact: Scott Augustin, +1-651-848-5793,



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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 5, 2002
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