The other day, I was meeting with a potential client when he asked:
“Is it even worth it to hire an attorney?”
The question made me think. It’s a question I’m certain many have asked, and a legitimate one.
When wondering if hiring an attorney is worth it, think of this: Have you ever watched a YouTube tutorial on fixing something yourself and not only did you not fix it, you made the situation worse? Have you ever attempted a Pinterest project, spending money on supplies and giving the project your time, only to have it fail miserably and end up in the trash? YouTube tutorials are often put together by experts who have done fix-it projects time and again. Pinterest projects are the culmination of the pinner’s trials and failures before crafting something good enough to pin online. Like these experts, an attorney has been trained in understanding the law and is your unbiased advocate.
Just as you would contact a mechanic if your car broke down or a plumber if your toilet stopped flushing, an attorney is worth calling when:
1. Your liberty is involved. When you are facing months or even years in jail or prison because of a criminal accusation, having the assistance of an attorney is essential. An attorney will evaluate the case against you, making certain that your rights have been preserved and that proper procedure has been followed. An attorney will know how to challenge and sometimes suppress evidence against you. Should the evidence not be in your favor, an attorney can negotiate a fair plea agreement with the prosecutor.
2. Your family is involved. The end of a marriage is a stressful time. That stress is compounded when division of property and child custody issues are added. An attorney can offer you expert advice, help you avoid mistakes, and produce a clear and binding agreement between you and your former spouse.
3. Your finances are involved. If you have been served with a civil suit, you will need an attorney. An attorney will know how to respond to the complaint, properly file court documents and meet deadlines.
4. Your signature is involved. You may have heard “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When entering into a contract, an attorney will help you avoid legal problems in the future. In addition, working with an attorney is valuable when estate planning.
5. The other party has an attorney. The law is complicated. In general, non-attorneys are at a great disadvantage when facing any legal situation in which your adversary or other party has retained an attorney. Having an attorney helps you preserve your rights and legal protections.
When faced with the above challenges, it’s easy to see why seeking the advice of an attorney is advantageous. Many attorneys offer free consultations to prospective clients – what do you have to lose by asking?