When people hear the word ‘lawyer’, they often assume the worst and start counting their loose change (in anticipation of a large expense). Despite the bad rap that lawyers get, the truth is, they’re educated and hard-working professionals that look out for their clients’ best interests – much like your family doctor or handy man. While it comes as no surprise that people are hesitant to hire a lawyer—especially if there is no immediate need—having a well-established relationship with one can save you a great deal of stress if things get rough.
So, in recognition of Be Kind to a Lawyer Day, let’s chat and chew about why having a lawyer in your back pocket can payoff.
Legal procedures are complex. Attorneys are familiar with deadlines and protocols for correctly filling out and filing paperwork; your case could fall apart, be put on hold, or worse, be thrown out altogether (and not in your favor) if legal documents are not filed properly.
They speak the legal jargon. There are a couple examples when having a lawyer by your side is probably unnecessary—like fighting a speeding ticket or going to a small claims court—but for bigger things such as divorce or a DUI, a lawyer can be crucial. If your legal matter ends up going to court, having a lawyer speak on your behalf usually works in your favor. It’s not uncommon for people who represent themselves in court to walk-away from a hearing with higher fines and harsher penalties; they likely didn’t know what to fight for or were intimidated. A lawyer’s presence in court evens the playing field and can prevent the prosecution from bullying their client.
Networking is their game. Attorneys have people on speed dial they can call at a moment’s notice—their professional circles are full of specialists from all different backgrounds and experience. Whether it’s an expert witness, private detective, government official, or many other professions, it’s unlikely that non-attorneys will have the same access to key people who can help with or challenge evidence or testimony by the opposing party.
They won’t break the bank. Depending on your problem, some attorneys can be pricey, but most are very reasonable. Also, lawyers typically provide a free initial consultation to give you an idea of the type of case you’re dealing with. From there, you can decide whether or not you need to hire a lawyer. So really, contacting a lawyer doesn’t necessary come with any financial commitment.
We can’t see the future. When we find ourselves in legal trouble, we are expected to get a lawyer. Doing what’s expected isn’t always the smartest approach though; instead, try planning ahead. While it may seem unlikely, you could be sued tomorrow or your child’s best friend could fall and break his or her arm on your property—then what? If you don’t have an attorney, you’re spending hours on Yelp or Google looking for one with a five-star rating. Avoid the panic by establishing a relationship with a lawyer NOW. If a problem does arise, the better your attorney knows you, the better he or she can help you.
As a friendly reminder, Active and Retired employees of the Intelligence Community, Department of Defense, and Department of State are eligible for personal legal protection through Compass Rose Benefits Group and LegalShield. For less than $16 a month, you and your family have access to a top-quality law firm in your area. Rest easy knowing you’re protected by LegalShield. Learn more at www.compassrosebenefits.com/Legal today!