You Have A Doctor, Dentist And Car Mechanic. So Why Don’t You Have A Lawyer?
Patty Lamberti Program Director
When the check engine light comes on in your car, you likely have a mechanic you trust to repair it.
When your teeth hurt or need cleaning, you make an appointment with your dentist.
When your kitchen sink breaks, you may have a handyman to call over.
You don’t try to fix serious health, car or home problems on your own.
So why is it that you don’t have a lawyer to help with your legal needs?
You likely need legal help and representation just as often as you need car or home repair, or a health assessment.
The reasons a having a lawyer on your team is as necessary as having a trusted doctor or dentist.
According to one study, people believe (falsely) that they only need a lawyer if they have an issue that a judge will be involved with, like a DWI or a criminal trial.
However, a lawyer should be consulted for all kinds of matters, including:
- Home purchases
- Contract reviews for residential or commercial leases, employment offers or termination agreements
- Landlord issues and eviction proceedings
- Bankruptcy issues
- Government benefits
- Family law
- Debt relief planning
- Medical bill negotiations
They just didn’t realize it was a situation in which a lawyer was needed.
At Court Buddy, we want to make sure you always have a lawyer’s contact information.
The reasons you don’t think you need a lawyer (and why you’re wrong)
1. You assume lawyers are only for when you get in trouble with police.
TV shows and movies have led us to believe that lawyers, like Saul Goodman in Better Call Saul, are only needed if you are accused of a crime that might lead to a prison sentence.
Criminal cases involve alleged offenses against laws established by the government. Examples are murder, assault, theft and impaired driving. Most people facing criminal charges want a lawyer, even if they must rely on a free court-appointed defense lawyer.
But lawyers can help you just as much in civil cases, which include disagreements between people and/or organizations. Examples include disputes involving housing, public benefits, child custody and domestic violence.
The Legal Services Corporation, which distributes government funds to 134 independent nonprofit legal aid programs, found that civil legal problems related to health, consumer and financial issues affect more households than any other type of legal area, including criminal matters.
Yet despite this need, people seek professional legal help for only 18% of their civil legal problems related to financial issues, and for only 11% of those related to health.
The consequences of not having a lawyer advise you during civil cases can be devastating.
For example, one study found that in housing courts across the country, 90 % of landlords have a lawyer represent them in court. 90% of tenants, however, do not. As a result, tenants usually lose. When tenants represent themselves in New York City, they are evicted in nearly 50 percent of cases. With a lawyer, they win 90 percent of the time.
Bottom line: Lawyers can help you get better results in all types of situations, not just ones that involve a judge or potential prison time.
2. You thought you could DIY your legal needs.
There are a ton of articles online that provide you with legal tips and advice. In fact, on our blog, we provide many complimentary articles to help you understand legal issues.
But online advice isn’t the same as getting specific advice, unique to your situation, from a lawyer.
It’s also natural that you ask friends and family what to do.
The Legal Services Corporation found that instead of reaching out to a lawyer, people ask for tips from friends and family for 33% of their problems.
As much as you may like your family and friends, they probably aren’t helping as much as you think.
There’s a reason lawyers have to go through at least six years of schooling after high school and 25% of aspiring lawyers fail the bar exam the first time they try.
It’s a hard job.
In one study, researchers found almost 200 tasks that are required in civil cases – from finding the right court, to filing the right paperwork, to filing motions, to tracking down evidence to negotiating a settlement.
You also need to know a fair amount of Latin to win in court. Lawyers love to throw around phrases like “force majeure” (a common clause in contracts that exempts parties from obligation when an extraordinary event occurs, like COVID-19).
Bottom line: Unless you have really, really smart friends and family, or want to spend hundreds of hours online researching your case, a lawyer can handle your legal needs better, and faster.
3. You assume you don’t have enough money for a lawyer.
This assumption – that lawyers cost a lot of money – used to be accurate.
At least until we came onto the scene.
Lawyers and law firms usually charge a “retainer” before they will start working with you. These retainers vary between $5,000 and $100,000 (typically, $15,000-$25,000). While the point of a retainer is that an attorney will make themselves available to work with you, it essentially consists of an amount you have deposited with the law firm for them to hold as a security deposit and bill against.
Lawyers charge anywhere from $100 - $1000 an hour (typically, $225-$550 an hour). Hourly fees vary depending on where the attorneys are located, what type of law they specialize in, what clients they serve, and their experience.
That is a lot of money.
And it’s especially hard to part with that much cash considering that money is usually the reason people need a lawyer in civil cases.
In many cases, you’re either fighting over the money you do have in your bank account, or money you don’t have in your bank account. In both cases, someone wants your money.
The good news is that we don’t charge anywhere near the numbers above.
Bottom line: Over 10,000 lawyers have partnered with Court Buddy to help clients for as low as $249, depending on your needs.
You can even pay over time – interest free – with our payment plans.
So reach out to us to find a lawyer, even if you don’t need legal help right now. Eventually, you’ll need to call your doctor, dentist and mechanic.
And one day, you’ll need a lawyer too.
Court Buddy is here to connect you with an experienced and trusted lawyer who can help you at an affordable rate. The company assists with the management of your case and lawyer relationship. Your lawyer will assess your legal issue in a timely and confidential manner, explain why you need or do not need a lawyer, and only charge you for the legal services performed and associated out of pocket fees. This article is intended to convey general information and does not constitute legal advice.