Terms & Conditions
PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING TERMS OF SERVICES & LEGAL NOTICES (“THIS AGREEMENT”) CAREFULLY BEFORE USING THE TotalLawyers.com WEBSITE (the “Site”,”TotalLawyers”, “We” or “Our”). These terms explain your (and our) rights under this Agreement, and make certain disclosures required by the law. By using the Site, you give your assent to the terms of this Agreement. If you do not agree to these terms, you may not use the Site. TotalLawyers has the right, in our sole discretion, to modify, add, or remove any terms or conditions of this Agreement without giving individual notice to you, by posting the changes on the Site. Your continuing use of the Site signifies your acceptance of any such changes.
Use of this Site is licensed to various law firms across the United States (the “law firms” or “Law Firms”) to (i) allow each such Law Firm to promote its own web site and practice, (ii) facilitate the public’s ability to learn about various law areas and (iii) interact with attorneys (it being understood that not all area codes will include a licensing law firm at all times). In addition to educating the general public about various laws, each Law Firm provides users with the ability to submit information about their specific case, and to request to be contacted by such Law Firm to discuss their case and to possibly hire it to represent them. You understand that TotalLawyers does not refer attorneys or law firms, and does not endorse or recommend any of the law firms which license use of the Site. TotalLawyers does not make any representation and has not made any judgment as to the qualifications, expertise or credentials of any participating lawyer or Law Firm. Lawyers and Law Firms are included solely based upon the payment of an advertising fee. It is your decision alone whether or not to work with a licensing law firm.
TotalLawyers itself is not a law firm but rather a website owned (or, as applicable, licensed) and operated by TotalAttorneys, L.L.C. (“TotalAttorneys”). TotalLawyers nor any of its licensors or affiliates do not receive any portion of any lawyer’s or law firm’s fees and any arrangements subsequently made by you and any lawyer or law firm are strictly between you and such party and do not involve TotalLawyers nor any of its licensors or affiliates in any way. You understand that TotalLawyers, and, to the extent applicable, its licensors, does nothing more than license the use of this Site to Law Firms to allow such Law Firms to better market their respective practices, and, in certain instances, provide various ancillary support services.
THIS WEBSITE IS AN ADVERTISEMENT OF LEGAL SERVICES, and all of the materials and information on the Site are provided for informational purposes only, and may not reflect current legal developments or variances in the law of different jurisdictions. Nothing on the Site should be construed as legal advice or used as a substitute for legal advice. Neither TotalLawyers nor any of its licensors provides legal advice (although a licensing Law Firm may provide legal advice to you in the event you engage such Law Firm to serve as your legal counsel). The materials and information on the Site do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the attorneys of the Law Firms, their partners, clients or affiliates. The information in the Site is not guaranteed to be correct, complete or up to date. The Site is not intended to, and does not, constitute or create an attorney-client relationship between you and the attorneys of any of the Law Firms, their partners, employees, agents or affiliates, or any other attorney associated with the Site. Additionally, the mere receipt of an e-mail from or a “post” on the Site does not create an attorney-client relationship. The applicable Law Firm is solely responsible for providing its services to you, and you agree that TotalLawyers shall not be liable for any damages or costs of any type arising out of or in any way connected with your use of such services (including, without limitation, claims based on malpractice). You agree that any claim arising out of your relationship with a Law Firm or attorney shall be brought solely against such Law Firm or attorney, and, as TotalLawyers is doing nothing more than assisting the Law Firms to market their respective practices, neither TotalLawyers nor any of its licensors or affiliates shall be included within any such claim.
YOU SHOULD NOT ACT OR RELY ON THE BASIS OF ANY INFORMATION ON THE SITE WITHOUT SEEKING AND RETAINING THE ADVICE OF AN ATTORNEY.
3. Submission of Information
5. Modifications to the Site
We reserve the right at any time and from time to time to modify or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, the Site (or any part of it) with or without notice. In the event of a modification or discontinuance, all information submitted by you and others may be lost. You agree to keep a permanent record of all information provided to us, and you agree that all information submitted to us is at your sole risk. You agree that we have no responsibility or liability for the deletion or failure to store any Content maintained or transmitted by the Site including without limitation messages and other communications. You agree that we shall not be liable to you or to any third party for any modification, suspension or discontinuance of the Service.
6. Participation in the Site
By submitting information to, reading, participating, or otherwise using the Site, you agree that you will abide by the following rules:
- The Site may only be used in good faith and may not be used to transmit or otherwise make available any information that is false or that you do not have a right to make available under any law or under contractual or fiduciary relationships (such as inside information, proprietary and confidential information learned or disclosed as part of employment relationships or under nondisclosure agreements), to threaten, abuse, harass, or invade the rights of any person or entity, to infringe on any person or entity’s intellectual property rights, or in any other way that could reasonably be deemed unethical, illegal, or offensive.
- You may not misidentify yourself or impersonate any person or entity, or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with a person or entity (e.g., pretend to be a different person or from a different company or organization).
- Unless you have our prior written consent, you will not post advertisements or promotional materials, solicit participants and/or visitors of the Site, reproduce, duplicate, copy, sell, resell or exploit for any commercial purposes, any portion of the Site or its Services, use of the Site or it Services, or access to the Site or its Services.
- You are prohibited from using any type of computer “worm,” “virus” or any other device that is intended or is likely to disrupt, overload, or otherwise impair the workings of any part of the Site. If you do engage in such conduct, the resulting damage will be hard to quantify as a dollar amount and thus you hereby agree to pay us liquidated damages in the amount of $5,000 for each day that the Site is damaged until the Site is completely repaired. This amount is derived by estimating the value of (1) the loss of good will caused by an inoperable site, (2) the time and money it will take to repair the Site and to address the concerns of visitors. We are required to use reasonable efforts to repair the Site as quickly as possible. This clause will not prohibit us from seeking additional compensation if your conduct injures us in a way not expressly contemplated herein.
- You are not permitted to collect or store personal data about other users.
- You are not permitted to access the Site for the purpose of data mining or extracting content from the Site beyond your personal end use.
- You are permitted to use the Site to find an attorney or law firm to perform legal services for you and to obtain general information about various law areas (each, a “Permissible Use”). You are not permitted to use the Site for any other reason other than a Permissible Use as described above. Impermissible Uses shall include, but are not limited to, using the Site to order to solicit, hire, engage or otherwise work with the employees or affiliates of TotalLawyers or the attorneys or law firms who sponsor TotalLawyers, to interfere or attempt to interfere in the relationship between TotalLawyers and such employees, affiliates, attorneys, or Law Firms, or for any other purpose other than described herein (each, an “Impermissible Use”). If you do engage in such conduct, the resulting damage will be hard to quantify as a dollar amount and thus you hereby agree to pay us liquidated damages in the amount of $10,000 for each Impermissible Use. You further agree that this liquidated damages provision reasonably approximates actual costs, losses, and expenses which would be incurred by TotalLawyers due to any such Impermissible Use. You also agree that nothing in this section is intended to limit TotalLawyers’ right to obtain injunctive and other relief as may be appropriate.
- You may not forge headers or otherwise manipulate identifiers in order to disguise the origin of any Content transmitted through the Site.
- You agree to not harm minors in any way.
- You shall not intentionally or unintentionally violate any applicable local, state, national or international law, including, but not limited to, regulations promulgated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, any rules of any national or other securities exchange, including, without limitation, the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange or the NASDAQ, and any regulations having the force of law.
- In the event you submit information through the Site, you agree to provide true, accurate, current and complete information and agree to promptly update the information to keep it true, accurate, current and complete. If you provide any information that is untrue, inaccurate, not current or incomplete, and/or we have reasonable grounds to suspect that such information is untrue, inaccurate, not current or incomplete, we have the right to suspend or terminate your participation in the Site and/or refuse any and all current or future use of the Site or its services (or any portion thereof).
- You understand and agree that all information, statistical data, text, software, music, sound, photographs, graphics, video, messages or other materials (Content), whether publicly posted or privately transmitted by you and other users of our service, are the sole responsibility of the person from which such Content originated. This means that you, and not us, are entirely responsible for all Content that you upload, post, email or otherwise transmit via the Site. We do not control all of the Content posted via the Site and, as such, do not guarantee the accuracy, integrity or quality of such Content. You understand that by using the Site, you may be exposed to Content that is offensive, indecent or objectionable. Under no circumstances will we be liable in any way for any Content, including, but not limited to, for any errors or omissions in any Content, or for any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of any Content posted, emailed or otherwise transmitted via the Site.
- You acknowledge that we may or may not pre-screen Content, but that we and our designees shall have the right (but not the obligation) in our sole discretion to prescreen, refuse, or move any Content that is available via the Site. Without limiting the foregoing, we and our designees shall have the right (but not the obligation) to remove any Content that violates this agreement or is otherwise objectionable.
7. Intellectual Property Rights
You acknowledge and agree that the Site and any necessary software used in connection with the Site may contain proprietary and confidential information that is protected by applicable intellectual property and other laws. Except for the limited license contained in paragraph 8 below, nothing in these Terms and Conditions grants or should be construed to grant any licenses or rights, by implication, estoppel or otherwise, under copyright or other intellectual property rights. You agree that all right, title and interest (including all copyrights, trademarks, service marks, patents and other intellectual property rights) in this Site and its content belong to us, or our licensers, as applicable. No part of the materials including graphics or logos, available in this Site may be copied, photocopied, reproduced, translated or reduced to any electronic medium or machine-readable form, in whole or in part, without specific permission. Except as expressly authorized by us, you further agree not to modify, rent, lease, loan, sell, distribute or create derivative works based on the Site or the software, in whole or in part.
8. Limited License; Permitted Uses
You are granted a non-exclusive, nontransferable, revocable license (1) to access and use the Site strictly in accordance with these Terms and Conditions; (2) to use the Site solely for internal, personal, noncommercial purposes; and (3) to print out discrete information and search results from the Site solely for internal, personal, noncommercial purposes and provided that you maintain all copyright and other notices contained therein.
9. Restrictions and Prohibitions on Use
10. No Solicitation
You shall not distribute on or through the Site or to any persons or entities identified via the Site any content or material containing solicitations or advertising of any kind without our express prior written permission.
You agree to indemnify and hold us, and our licensors, subsidiaries, affiliates, equity holders, directors, officers, agents, third party contractors and employees, harmless from all damages, costs, liabilities, and any claim or demand made by any third party, including reasonable attorney’s fees due to or arising out of Content you submit, post to or transmit through the Site, your use of the Site, your connection to the Site, your violation of this agreement, or your violation of any rights of another person, or due to or arising from such activities carried out by a person using your TotalLawyers account or password, with your knowledge.
12. Errors and Corrections
We do not represent or warrant that the Site will be error-free, free of viruses or other harmful components, or that defects will be corrected. We do not warrant or represent that the information available on or through the Site will be correct, accurate, timely, or otherwise reliable. We may (but are not obligated to) make improvements and/or changes to its features, functionality or content of the Site at any time. In no event shall we be liable for any such errors or defects.
By using the Site, you do not acquire any rights to the Site other than the limited license to use the Site (as set forth in paragraph 8 above) that can be terminated in accordance with this section. You agree that we, in our sole discretion, may terminate your password, account (or any part thereof) or use of the Site, and remove and discard any Content within the Site, for any reason, including, without limitation, non-payment, for lack of use, or if we believe that you have violated or acted inconsistently with the letter or spirit of this agreement. We may also in our sole discretion and at any time discontinue providing the Site, or any part thereof, with or without notice. You agree that any termination of your access to the Site under any provision of this agreement may be effected without prior notice, and acknowledge and agree that we may immediately deactivate or delete your account and all related Content information and files in your account and/or bar any further access to such files or the Site. Further, you agree that we shall not be liable to you or any third-party for any termination of your access to the Site.
14. Third-Party Content
Third-party content may appear on this Site or may be accessible via links from this Site. We shall not be responsible for and assume no liability for any mistakes, misstatements of law, defamation, omissions, falsehood, obscenity, pornography or profanity in the statements, opinions, representations or any other form of content contained in any third-party content appearing on the Site. You understand that the information and opinions in the third-party content represent solely the thoughts of the author and is neither endorsed by us nor does it reflect our beliefs.
15. Dealings with Advertisers
Your correspondence or business dealings with, or participation in promotions of, advertisers found on or through the Site, including payment and delivery of related goods or services, and any other terms, conditions, warranties or representations associated with such dealings, are solely between you and such advertiser. You agree that we shall not be responsible or liable for any loss or damage of any sort incurred as the result of any such dealings or as the result of the presence of such advertisers on the Site.
16. Links to Other Websites
The Site may contain “hyperlinks” to websites neither owned nor controlled by us and we are not responsible for, and, unless otherwise noted specifically, make no representations or endorsements with respect to these sites or with respect to any service or product associated with these sites. By including these hyperlinks, we do not mean to state or imply that we sponsor, are affiliated with, or are legally authorized to use any trade name, registered trademark, service mark, logo, legal or official seal, or copyrighted symbol that may be reflected in the hyperlinks.
17. Our Sponsoring Attorneys
Click here to see a list of our Sponsoring Attorneys or call 866-200-8052.
18. Disclosures Regarding Attorney Advertising
THIS SITE MAY CONTAIN ADVERTISING MATERIAL OR LAWYER ADVERTISEMENTS
Some jurisdictions may consider the Site to be a form of advertising for legal services and as such may require specific disclosures. Please read the following carefully:
THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT. The determination of the need for legal services and the choice of a lawyer are extremely important decisions and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Anyone considering a lawyer should independently investigate the lawyer’s credentials and ability, and not rely upon advertisements or self-proclaimed expertise. Hiring a lawyer is an important process that should not be based solely upon advertisements.
None of the Law Firms operate as a lawyer-advertising cooperative, lawyer referral service, prepaid legal insurance provider, or similar organization the business or activities of which include the referral of customers, members, or beneficiaries to lawyers for the performance of fee-generating legal services or the payment for or provision of legal services to the customers, members, or beneficiaries in matters for which they do not bear ultimate responsibility.
FREE BACKGROUND INFORMATION AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST
Before you decide to hire any of the Law Firms, ask them to send you free written information about their qualifications and experience. Additional information about the lawyers or firms may also be obtained by contacting the Bar Association in the State in which such lawyers or law firms are licensed.
No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. Memberships and offices in legal fraternities and legal societies, technical and professional licenses, and memberships in scientific, technical and professional associations and societies of law or fields of practice do not mean that a lawyer is a specialist, expert, authority or is certified in a particular field of law, nor do such memberships or licenses mean that such a lawyer is more expert or competent than any other lawyer.
A description or indication of limitation of practice does not mean that any agency or board has certified such lawyer as a specialist, expert or authority in an indicated field of law practice, nor does it mean that such lawyer is more expert or competent than any other lawyer. We urge all potential clients to make their own independent investigation and evaluation of any lawyer being considered.
Except where otherwise indicated, none of the Law Firms are certified by the Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education, the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (“Not Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization”), or any other entity or body. The fact that certain attorneys or firms concentrate their practices in certain types of cases (or any other field) is not meant to imply that they have gained any specific type of certification in these areas. Indeed, many states-including Illinois-do not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law and explicitly state that any such certificate, award or recognition is not a requirement to practice law in those states.
ADDITIONAL STATE SPECIFIC DISCLOSURES:
You are advised that no representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.
Florida Rule of Professional Conduct 4-7.10(c) defines a group advertising program operated by an organization wherein the legal services advertisements utilize a common telephone number and potential clients are then referred only to lawyers or law firms participating in the group advertising program to be a lawyer referral service. By all other standards, we and the joint advertising ventures for which we are an agent are not lawyer referral services.
THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT.
FREE BACKGROUND INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.
Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
The Wyoming State Bar does not certify any lawyer as a specialist or expert. Anyone considering a lawyer should independently investigate the lawyer’s credentials and ability, and not rely upon advertisements or self-proclaimed expertise.
Within the Site, we may include descriptions of successful lawsuits brought by the Law Firms, or other attorneys not affiliated with us or the Site. These descriptions are not meant to create any unjustified expectations that similar results can be obtained for others, for each case turns on its own specific factual and legal circumstances. No attorney can guarantee the success of a case and past successes even in very similar lawsuits do not mean that success in a subsequent case is guaranteed or even likely. Past success cannot be an assurance of future success because each case must be decided on its own merits. Results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case.
The material on this site is not intended to, and does not, include any advertisements for legal services that contain dramatizations, testimonials or endorsements. This site is intended to provide useful, factual information presented in a non-sensational, objective and understandable manner. The images and pictures on this site are not meant to represent or depict actual persons or events, but rather are merely provided for illustrative purposes only.
This Site is not intended for the purpose of advertising legal services to be performed in any state solely by the Law Firms, unless they are specifically licensed to practice in that respective State.
To the extent that this Site does not comply with the laws or regulations of any jurisdiction in which it may be received, the Law Firms do not wish to, and will not knowingly, accept legal representation based on or resulting from the use of the Site from a person located in that jurisdiction. None of the Law Firms wish to, or knowingly will, accept legal representation based on or resulting from the use of the Site from a person located outside the United States.
19. Disclaimer of Warranties
YOU EXPRESSLY UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT:
YOUR USE OF THE SITE IS AT YOUR SOLE RISK. ALL CONTENT AND SERVICES ON THE SITE IS PROVIDED SOLELY ON AN “AS-IS/AS-AVAILABLE” BASIS. TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW, WE EXPRESSLY DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, WHETHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES AND CONDITIONS OF MERCHANTABILITY, SATISFACTORY QUALITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR USE, AS TO THE RESULTS YOU MAY ACHIEVE ON ACCOUNT YOUR USE OF THE SITE, AS TO THE RESULTS YOU MAY ACHIEVE ON ACCOUNT OF ANY RELATIONSHIP YOU ELECT TO CREATE WITH AN ATTORNEY OR LAW FIRM, AND NON-INFRINGEMENT. NEITHER TOTALLAWYERS NOR ANY OF ITS LICENSORS OR AFFILIATES MAKES ANY REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES REGARDING ANY LAW FIRM, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY LAW FIRM’S ABILITY TO OBTAIN A FAVORABLE RESULT FOR YOU.
WITHOUT LIMITING THE GENERALITY OF THE FOREGOING, WE MAKE NO REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY THAT (i) THE CONTENT AND SERVICE OF THIS SITE WILL MEET YOUR REQUIREMENTS, (ii) THE CONTENT AND SERVICE OF THIS SITE WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED, TIMELY, SECURE, OR ERROR-FREE, (iii) THE RESULTS THAT MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE USE OF THE SITE WILL BE ACCURATE OR RELIABLE, OR (iv) THE QUALITY OF ANY PRODUCTS, SERVICES, INFORMATION, OR OTHER MATERIAL PURCHASED OR OBTAINED BY YOU THROUGH THE SITE IS ACCURATE OR WILL MEET YOUR EXPECTATIONS.
WE DO NOT GUARANTY THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OF ANY CONTENT OR SERVICES AND WE DO NOT GUARANTY IN ANY SERVICES OR GOODS ASSOCIATED WITH THE SITE WILL BE ERROR-FREE OR UNINTERRUPTED, OR THAT ANY SERVICE OR GOOD WILL CONTINUE TO BE AVAILABLE.
ANY MATERIAL DOWNLOADED OR OTHERWISE OBTAINED THROUGH THE USE OF THE SERVICE IS DONE AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION AND RISK AND THAT YOU WILL BE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE TO YOUR COMPUTER SYSTEM OR LOSS OF DATA THAT RESULTS FROM THE DOWNLOAD OF ANY SUCH MATERIAL.
NO INFORMATION, WHETHER ORAL OR WRITTEN, OBTAINED BY YOU FROM US OR THROUGH OR FROM THE SITE SHALL CREATE ANY WARRANTY NOT EXPRESSLY STATED IN THIS AGREEMENT.
20. Limitation of Liability
YOU EXPRESSLY UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT WE SHALL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, CONSEQUENTIAL OR EXEMPLARY DAMAGES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF REVENUES, PROFITS, GOODWILL, USE, DATA, FAILURE TO REALIZE EXPECTED SAVINGS, OR OTHER INTANGIBLE LOSSES (EVEN IF WE HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES), RESULTING FROM: (i) THE USE OR THE INABILITY TO USE THE SITE; (ii) THE COST OF PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS AND SERVICES RESULTING FROM ANY GOODS, DATA, INFORMATION OR SERVICES PURCHASED OR OBTAINED OR MESSAGES RECEIVED OR TRANSACTIONS ENTERED INTO THROUGH OR FROM THE SITE; (iii) INVALID DESTINATIONS, TRANSMISSION ERRORS, OR UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS TO OR ALTERATION OF YOUR TRANSMISSIONS OR DATA; (iv) STATEMENTS OR CONDUCT OF ANY THIRD PARTY ON THE SITE; (v) YOUR FAILURE TO RECEIVE ANY THIRD PARTY SERVICES OR PRODUCTS REQUESTED THROUGH THE SITE OR (vi) ANY OTHER MATTER RELATING TO THE SITE. IN NO EVENT ARE WE LIABLE TO YOU FOR AN AMOUNT IN EXCESS OF THE AMOUNT PAID BY YOU TO US FOR THE SERVICES IN QUESTION, IF ANY.
21. Exclusions And Limitations
SOME JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW THE EXCLUSION OF CERTAIN WARRANTIES OR THE LIMITATION OR EXCLUSION OF LIABILITY FOR INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES. ACCORDINGLY, SOME OF THE ABOVE LIMITATIONS OF SECTIONS 19 AND 20 MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU.
22. Entire Agreement
This agreement constitutes the entire agreement between you and us and governs your use of the Site, superseding any prior agreements between you and us. You also may be subject to additional terms and conditions that may apply when you use or purchase certain other services, affiliate services, third-party content or third-party software.
23. Choice of Forum
Any disputes arising out or related to use of this Site, this agreement and/or the relationship between you and us shall be submitted to arbitration in Chicago, Illinois carried out in accordance with the rules of the American Arbitration Association.
24. Waiver and Severability of Terms
Our failure to exercise or enforce any right or provision of this agreement shall not constitute a waiver of such right or provision. If any provision of the agreement is found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, the parties nevertheless agree that the court should endeavor to give effect to the parties’ intentions as reflected in the provision, and the other provisions of the agreement shall remain in full force and effect.
25. Statute of Limitations
You agree that regardless of any statute or law to the contrary, any claim or cause of action arising out of or related to use of this Site, this agreement and/or the relationship between you and us must be filed within one (1) year after such claim or cause of action arose or be forever barred.
26. Attorney Ethics Notice
If you are an attorney, participating in any aspect of this Site, you acknowledge that rules of professional conduct apply to all aspects of your participation and that you will abide by such rules. The rules include, but are not limited to, the rules relating to advertising, solicitation of clients, unauthorized practice of law, and misrepresentations of fact. We disclaim all responsibility for your compliance with these rules.
The section titles in this agreement are for convenience only and have no legal or contractual effect.