Why Might I Need to Hire a Lawyer?
The legal process is extraordinarily complex, with federal and state laws, administrative rules, and government agency regulations all affecting your legal rights and responsibilities. Lawyers have years of education and training to deal with these different aspects of the legal system. Without the proper training, it is easy for the average person to miss an important deadline or file the wrong document in court, which can significantly impair one’s legal rights. A lawyer can help ensure that your legal rights are always protected. Additionally, seeking legal advice early in any law-related process can help you save time and reduce costs by obtaining the information you need to know quickly and accurately.
Why Might I Decide Not to Hire a Lawyer?
Despite the experience and knowledge that a lawyer can bring, some people decide not to hire a lawyer for some situations. In some legal proceedings, such as small claims court, require parties to represent themselves, so lawyers are not allowed. Additionally, many small disputes can be handled through alternative dispute resolution (ADR) programs, such as mediation, in order to avoid the expense and stress of hiring an attorney and going to court. Finally, a government agency, such as your state’s department of consumer affairs, may be able to help resolve your legal dispute without taking it to the courtroom.
How Do I Choose the Right Lawyer?
Selecting the right lawyer from the many out there can be difficult. The most important question to ask yourself is: “What am I trying to accomplish by hiring a lawyer?” You need a lawyer who will best help you achieve your goal, whether it’s standing up for your rights during a divorce proceeding, defending you against criminal allegations, or helping you draft a will. A lawyer who does not have experience working toward your goal probably is not the best fit for you.
Do not be afraid to “shop around” and compare many lawyers’ skills and fee rates. Every lawyer has a different skill set, and different lawyers may bring different advantages to your side. You should determine which skills and what experience are most important to achieving your goal and balance those with the cost you can afford.
Finally, you should pick a lawyer you can work with. A lawyer may have excellent experience, but if you cannot work with that attorney’s personality, the possibility of achieving your goal will suffer. Use your own intuition to determine whether the lawyer you are considering will be a good match for you.