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How to know when to hire a lawyer in a legal matter.

Don Harris

Don F. Harris, Esq.

So you have had a car accident, or you are arguing with your neighbor, or maybe you are working on your estate planning – how do you know when you need a lawyer to help?

One way to go about determining whether when to hire a lawyer is to use a cost-benefit approach. Basically you have to weigh potential outcomes versus the cost of the attorney fees. This analysis varies greatly based on the potential value in the outcome of the issue.

In the simplest terms, would paying this lawyer be worth the outcome if successful, and/or would the pain incurred be more than the cost of the lawyer if not hired?

For instance: if you are getting a divorce and you really, really want more custody rights of your children than your spouse seems willing to agree with, then if you do not hire powerful legal representation (though it might cost a lot), would you regret that decision when you lost your court case?

Or if your car was stolen and the insurance company offered you $2000 less than you believe it was worth, would it make sense to hire legal representation for $3000 to sue the insurance company? Only if it were about principles!

When looking for legal help, do not hesitate to speak to more than one firm as costs as well as expertise certainly vary as they do in all businesses. Each case is different, as the most expensive and powerful attorney firm may be perfect for one case and completely wrong for another.

Many are hesitant to even consider legal help as they fear the cost, or are uncertain of how the system works. Although hiring an attorney can be expensive, the costs of not hiring an attorney at the right time can be even more painful – and not just in terms of cost!

If you decide to represent yourself in a contract dispute, divorce, or even a criminal charge, realize that although you certainly have the right to self-representation, often the courts with their sometimes archaic rules and processes can be hard to negotiate by someone trying to protect themselves. Learning how a court and the legal process works while defending yourself is not the best time for an education!

We certainly hope that you don’t need one, but if you do, let us know when you’ve decided to hire a lawyer and we will help all we can.



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