When Should You Call a Lawyer?

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Nahrgang & Associates

Collegeville, PA

Practice Areas

Bankruptcy, Foreclosure

In this world of do it yourself fixes and the wealth of information available through the internet, people have a tendency to spend untold hours attempting to solve their problems without calling someone for help. While there is certainly merit to that as it embodies the American spirit with its work ethic and self-reliance, everyone needs help sometimes.

There are 3 reasons that people delay calling a lawyer for help:

  1. They think they don't need to and will be able to resolve it without doing so
  2. They are embarrassed and are very reluctant to tell a stranger about their problem
  3. They are afraid of the cost, including a possible consultation fee.

Let's address each issue in turn.

Do It Yourself

While the internet is an extremely valuable tool, providing resources for numerous daily matters, it cannot take the place of experienced professional advice. It is too easy for anyone to add anything on the internet and clients often follow erroneous advice in an effort to solve the problem on their own. The internet should be used as a starting point, only, and many reputable law firms will provide helpful advice on their websites to educate the client prior to a consultation. That is not an end to the matter, but an intelligent beginning. And relying on non professionals for advice has similar problems. Friends and family may be well intentioned, but there is no substitute for the experience and education of a professional licensed by the state who makes their living providing such services.

Privacy Concerns or Embarassment

All consultations with an attorney are confidential. Embarrassment and reluctance are understandable, but should be easily overcome by the right professional who treats clients the way he wants to be treated. Lawyers are similar to doctors in that they diagnose the problem and help find the cure. Just as there is not always a medical cure, maybe the same is true for your legal problem. But you would never avoid speaking to a doctor if your physical health was in question. Well, your financial health is also important and, on many occasions, can directly effect your physical health. I have had numerous clients be on the bring of nervous breakdowns before coming to me for help and ending up with peace of mind that allowed them to live happy and productive lives.

Cost for Consultation

Many attorneys charge for an initial consultation. Perhaps they subscribe to Lincoln's wisdom that advice is a lawyer's stock in trade. While I agree that advice on a regular basis can be a service warranting fees, it shouldn't cost you something just to find out your options. That is why I don't charge for an initial consultation so there is literally no reason not to seek my advice or any attorney who has the same practice.

There is a very old saying that a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client. How much more so does that apply to someone who isn't a lawyer?