There will probably come a time in your life when you need the services of a lawyer. Part of planning for the future is to have the name and number of a lawyer you can trust in your address book or phone. Whether it’s for something as benign as dealing with your will and estate, or something tragic like a divorce, dealing with a workers’ compensation claim, or bankruptcy, you’ll need a lawyer in each case. In all of these cases, the chances are that your experience in these matters is almost zero and you want an experienced guide who can get you through each circumstance in the easiest and most beneficial way possible. Having a good legal team can help you file for bankruptcy, submit a personal injury claim, or file successfully for divorce. You want to build a strong and trusting relationship with your lawyer for the best results.
I’ve Seen People Be Their Own Lawyers….Can’t I Just Do That?
In some cases, yes, people can speak for themselves in court, but it’s not advised at all. How much do you know about bankruptcy, personal injury, or divorce law? Spending the money on getting good counsel is absolutely worth it. For example, if you file with a lawyer, the Chapter 7 bankruptcy claims success rate is over 95%! That’s pretty impressive! And if, God forbid, you were one of the 300,000 drunk drivers who take to the road every day, and are arrested for causing a crash, you want a good lawyer to try and mitigate your charge. If you’re filing for worker’s comp, you’ll need someone who knows the state and federal laws that govern your business to make sure that you get what you’re due. These things would all be tough to do on your own and you probably wouldn’t be taken as seriously. In some cases, trying to be your own lawyer could actually make it worse for you.
What Services Do Lawyers Provide?
Perhaps one of the most useful services that lawyers can offer is help reviewing legal documents; everything from court forms to agreements, wills, and other contracts. They can often help you break down and understand what’s being said and what you’re agreeing to, and can advise tweaks or changes that will benefit you. They’ll also prepare any documents you need to submit for your case, which can take a load of stress off of you!
Moreover, they’ll offer you consultation and advice on any legal information and on your case. Think of them as your representative in a way! If you case should go to court, they’ll speak for you in any hearings, whether they’re administrative or legislative. If you and the other party try to settle out of court (as often happens in personal injury tort cases, for example), they’ll assist with the mediation and negotiation process. Often, your lawyer and the other party’s lawyer will negotiate on your behalves and report back to you.
How Do I Find a Lawyer Who’s Right For Me?
Because you usually only retain a lawyer under extenuating circumstances (unless you run a business or some other venture that comes with the risk of being sued or with extensive legal responsibilities), you want to pick a lawyer with whom you can build a good relationship. Trust is perhaps the most key element in the lawyer-client relationship. It’s extremely important to be completely honest and full-disclosure with your lawyer; they need as much information as they can get to build you a successful case, and don’t want to be caught unawares by something the other party has managed to dig up that you haven’t told them. You can get professional recommendations (your union, marriage counselor, or bank might have some suggestions) or ask your family and friends for some names to call.
It’s always a good idea to have the name of a lawyer in your back pocket. You never know when you’ll need to call him or her up and it’s better to do the research now than in a hurry later. Remember that a lawyer is here to help you and serve your best interests!