Is it legally necessary to disclaim "I am not a lawyer" when engaging in casual conversation, writing Internet posts, etc. to avoid civil or criminal liability for one's comments? Specifically, in the absence of:
- claims to be a lawyer or implied claims (i.e. posing)
- accepting payment or other compensation for legal advice
Is there any presumption under US law that casually giving advice to others on matters of law constitutes professional legal advice?
If a hypothetical statement is needed, let's say you said this to your next-door neighbor, who has no particular reason to believe you are a lawyer: "Based on my own past experience, and my reading of this statute, you are free to ignore this letter you received in the mail, as not answering does not change your outlook." If your neighbor took this advice, and ended up in a bad position, and blamed you, are you in any way more liable under the law than if you had also said, "But I'm not a lawyer, so you should seek professional advice"?
I'm neglecting the practical (psychological) reasons to make such disclaimers. Whether they have any real effect or not, giving them may preclude making trouble in people's minds.