When choosing a legal app on the Marketplace, you need to know the jurisdiction for your legal matter. There is a lot of information out there, but we've summarized the basic information you need to understand and choose a jurisdiction.
When it comes to legal matters, the term "jurisdiction" can mean several things. When choosing a legal app on the Marketplace, the jurisdiction of the legal app identifies where the legal app was designed to be used.
Some apps may only be valid in one county or state, and some might be valid in entire countries. For each legal app, the jurisdiction will be listed in the sidebar on the right of the page.
For this article, we are going to refer to jurisdiction at the state and federal levels. However, if you need to get more specific than that (for example, choosing a county or specific court for your jurisdiction), the legal app description should help guide you.
Please note that this article is meant to be educational, and should not be considered legal advice. If you are unsure of which jurisdiction to choose, you may need to consult with an attorney. Some of the legal apps on the Marketplace even offer the option to purchase attorney consultation, so you may be able to speak to the attorney who drafted your documents.
Most of the time, your jurisdiction will be the state or country where you live. However, that is not always the case. We’ve summarized the most common options below, but you may need to do additional research or contact an attorney if you have questions.
If someone has filed a lawsuit against you, the other party will have already determined the jurisdiction. You can usually find the name and location of the court on the first page of the complaint.
When choosing a legal app to create responding documents, you should select the same jurisdiction. Keep in mind that sometimes the filing party will use the wrong jurisdiction. If you believe the filing party has selected the wrong jurisdiction and you wish to dispute the jurisdiction, consult an attorney to ensure that you preserve that right.
If you are filing a lawsuit, the jurisdiction will often depend on the type of lawsuit and the residence of the person (or corporation) that you are filing against. Here are some common scenarios:
For lawsuits against corporations, you can follow the guidelines for the type of cases described above, but instead of residence, you’ll need to determine the company’s state of incorporation (meaning the state where it was formed) or the location of a registered office. Large companies might have registered offices in multiple states, and they could potentially be subject to lawsuits in multiple states. As always, if you are unsure where to file your lawsuit, you may need to consult with an attorney (even if you don’t hire an attorney for full representation in the lawsuit itself).
If you have a lawsuit against multiple parties, jurisdiction can get complicated. The easiest scenario is if all of the parties reside in the same state. In that case, you will usually need to file your lawsuit in that state. If the parties reside in two or more different states, then sometimes you can just choose one of the states, or you can file the suit based on where the damaging action occurred or where the property at issue is located. However, this is another scenario that can quickly get complicated, and if you are unsure about where to file, you will need to call an attorney.
Sometimes a court can bring in the outlier claims via supplemental jurisdiction, but it gets complicated. If this scenario applies to your legal matter, we suggest calling an attorney.
Many legal apps are not related to lawsuits but are designed to help you draft legal documents like wills, trusts, contracts, real estate deeds, and business documents. For these apps, the choice of jurisdiction is usually straightforward.
While jurisdiction is often straightforward, it can also become a complicated issue in some legal matters. Jurisdiction (or lack thereof) can even be used as a defense in some lawsuits. If you still have questions, please contact an attorney. Ask your family and friends for referrals to attorneys they trust, or you can call your state bar association for more information on referrals.
You can also check out the American Bar Association’s list of referral programs. While their list does not cover every state, it can be a good starting point.
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