Sometimes you simply need a lawyer. You’ve been accused of something. You owe money you can’t pay. You’ve been injured and it wasn’t your fault. You have a DUI and maybe it was. You’ve been cheated and wish to file a lawsuit – or someone’s suing you. You’re getting divorced, or you’ve been divorced and there’s an issue with child support, visitation, or who knows what else. You’re declaring bankruptcy, merging your small business with someone else’s, fighting a traffic ticket, or sorting out a particularly complicated real estate deal. The possible reasons are endless. Sometimes it feels like the resulting legal fees are endless as well.
Most of the time, the cost of hiring a good lawyer, while never cheap, is still less expensive than not hiring them. We live in complicated times with a rather complex legal system. It seems like if the bad guys don’t get you, the bureaucracy and paperwork will. Many people who end up in messy situations need a little help paying lawyer fees. It doesn’t make you a failure; it means the system has some major room for improvement. It’s absolutely worth discussing how to simplify many things about the legal system, but for now – well, when you need a lawyer, you usually really really need one, and NOW. So let’s start with that.
Things may be messy right now, but you have some control. You’re not completely helpless and you’re not without options. Take a slow, deep breath, and think things through. There’s almost always a way to make things better, and usually several rather ugly ways to make them much, much worse. Let’s try the “make them better” route for now, shall we?
If you don’t already have a lawyer, that’s probably where you should start. If you have friends who’ve been in similar circumstances, ask for their recommendations. If that’s not an option, use the internet. Most attorneys will indicate on their websites what they do and don’t do. If you end up calling or filling out one of those online forms, be prepared to summarize your situation and wants concisely and clearly. Remember, you’re not trying to fit in the entire first consultation; you’re just trying to make sure they handle situations like yours. No reputable attorney is interested in wasting their own time or yours, so they’ll likely tell you pretty quickly if it’s not a good fit. Some will have recommendations, otherwise, move on down the list.