It is not always easy to know whether you have a legal problem requiring a lawyer’s assistance. In a complex society, there are many situations in which legal advice is necessary or desirable. Nearly everyone at some time is faced with legal questions. Those untrained in the law may not always be able to recognize the existence of a legal problem or know how to analyze a legal issue.
The best way to determine whether you have a legal problem or need legal assistance is to ask a lawyer. The sooner you ask, the better. The longer you wait to determine whether you have a legal problem, the more likely it is that you will have fewer options or that your situation will have worsened by the time the legal issue is addressed. Lawyers frequently do not charge for an initial consultation or for answering simple questions prior to undertaking the representation of a client. Lawyers are trained to recognize and analyze legal issues and can be expected to tell you if your problem warrants legal action.
Sooner or later, almost everyone needs to see a lawyer. Many people turn to a lawyer only as a last resort — after the contract has been signed, or the creditor is threatening, or the spouse has walked out.
The saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is as true with legal matters as it is with regular medical checkups.
Good legal advice is one of the greatest preventive measures a lawyer can provide. Early consultation with a lawyer may prevent serious problems later. Common situations where you should consider consulting a lawyer include:
Before buying or selling a home or other real estate
When making a will or planning your estate
Before signing a contract involving a lot of money or calling for financing
Before organizing or buying a business
When there are changes in your family status — marriage, adoption, divorce, guardianship
When you are arrested or charged with a crime
When you are involved in an accident in which there is personal injury or property damage
When you have tax problems or questions
When you are having problems with unpaid bills or bill collectors
When you are not sure if your problem has a legal solution