Do you need a lawyer? Often, the answer to that question is easy. If you find yourself charged with a crime, or learn that someone is trying to sue you, then the answer is usually "yes." But there are many people in situations where they're not sure if they need a lawyer or not. Here are some things to consider when in a legal dilemma:
The Benefits of the Simple Consultation
Many people never realize the bulk of a lawyer's job is consultation. You don't need to hire a lawyer. You can speak to one about your situation. This can help you in various ways. A lawyer can tell you
- Things you may want to consider as your next step
- The seriousness of the issue at hand
- How immediate the problem is
- Other places you can go for further information
- What they can do for you if you do hire them
- Where to go for more specific or specialist advice
Lawyers give advice, and sometimes they give that advice free of charge. They cannot tell you what to do, and they won't. But they can tell you some of the basics about your situation and give you some of the tools you need to move forward with or without them.
Are Lawyers Just Giving Information Away?
You may wonder how a lawyer stays in business if they're giving away so much information. First, consultation isn't always free. It depends on that particular lawyer service. However, it's usually a lot cheaper than hiring the lawyer. Many lawyers will even waive the consultation fee if you hire them.
Even the free consultations don't cost a lawyer much. Just knowing something doesn't mean you know how to use that information in regards to your situation. Knowledge can help you prepare or understand, but it cannot fight the case for you. Only a lawyer can reliably do that. So the lawyer gives you information knowing that there's a good chance that you will return to hire them.
Using Consultations Preemptively
Speaking to a lawyer shouldn't always be a reaction to something that is already happening. If you suspect any move you make can have legal consequences, then you should speak to a lawyer before you make that move.
This is especially important in business decisions, but can apply to anything. For example, if you're changing jobs, but your new job is similar to your old one, you may want to speak to a lawyer that specializes in trade secret law.
Having a Conversation
You don't always need a lawyer, but you should always speak to one just in case. Lawyers are here to help you. You should never hesitate to speak to attorney about anything. They're not therapists, but they can definitely help you with your problems.