Reason No. 1: You do not know what to do with your legal matter
Legal matters can have long, unexpected, and unwanted consequences.
Get the information you need from a trusted and reliable source. Lawyers are expected to maintain professional standards involving competence and ethics. In Ontario, practicing lawyers are covered by professional liability insurance up to $1,000,000 or more.
Unless you know what you are doing or the matter is inconsequential, seeking legal advice from a professional will probably create the best value for your time and money. Avoid getting “free” legal advice from family or friends especially for matters that you deem important. First, they may cause more harm than good if they are not competent to provide such advice. Second, they may be biased or have a self-interest in the matter. Ironically, what many consider “free” are usually the ones that cost the most.
Some lawyers are better suited for your needs in terms of expertise, schedule, communication, and fees. Finding the right lawyer can be challenging, but whether you need one is probably the first decision you must make. Even if you do not get the solution to your legal matter right away, you are on the right track. A good lawyer should guide you with the process, lay out your options, and recommend your next steps. Moreover, such a lawyer is well connected and may refer you to another professional who is better able to meet your needs.
Reason No. 2: You do not have the time
Time is money or time is gold, so they say. Do you believe this? Of course!
Yes, you can spend your own time and do it yourself. There is no harm in trying if you know what you are doing (see Reason No. 1 above). However, specialists like lawyers are expected to do their job much better and a lot faster. Consider how that will translate to cost savings for you. They say practice makes perfect and anyone doing something repeatedly will naturally become proficient at it. Lawyers become experts in legal matters through years of education, training, and experience.
If you would rather spend your time doing something else, then hiring a professional is the right choice. Spend your time doing what you do best and let lawyers do what they do best. Does this make sense? We think it does! While lawyers charge at an hourly rate much higher than the minimum wage, the value of their service is usually more than its cost. In fact, some highly rated lawyers deliver value many times over what they charge. What this mean is that in some cases, the lawyers that cost more are the ones who can deliver more value. Consider what you will gain compared to what it will cost.
As with making any decision, be adequately informed before making one. As mentioned above, there are lawyers better suited to your needs than others. Find the right one for you to get the most out of your time and money. Do not get intimidated by the initial cost. Instead, try to understand you will get out of it. Do your searches and ask the right questions.
More experienced lawyers are expected to charge higher hourly rates for good reasons. Such lawyers are relatively in high-demand which allows them to increase their rates. As you can imagine, a lawyer’s availability in terms of time is limited. Hence, lawyers whose services are highly sought after will tend to charge higher fees so that their time will be devoted only to serious clients who recognize their value.
Reason No. 3: Your judgement is clouded
There are matters better left to be handled by someone else even if you have the knowledge and the time for them. This applies if you are emotionally attached to the matter at hand because it will affect your judgment. Worse, the matter can lead to anxiety and leave you emotionally drained. Examples are those involving sensitive family law matters, civil litigation and criminal charges.
The best judgments are usually made with reasons and not emotions. This holds true in complex or complicated situations including legal settings. This is where professionals such as lawyers can reach their true potential. They can set aside their personal view and handle the matter objectively to get optimal results.
Believe me when I say that even lawyers sometimes need other lawyers.
Do-it-yourself (DIY) is made available to the masses in this age of information which is a good thing. Social media, crowdsourcing, and highly efficient search engines allow anyone to obtain the right information at the right time at a minimal cost. Nothing can be better than that.
However, there are times when things are better left to the professionals. For some legal matters, the first step is usually to decide whether you need to hire a lawyer. As with almost everything else, there are trade-offs to your decisions and only you can know which is best for you. If any of the 3 reasons apply to you, strongly consider getting help from a lawyer. Depending on a lawyer’s policy, you may or may not be charged for the initial consultation.