When Do I Need a Lawyer?

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With a variety of self-help forms and resources available to individuals today, it may be tempting to attempt to do legal work yourself and avoid the often expensive endeavor of having to hire a lawyer. However, many tasks are better suited for a professional.

Common Reasons to Hire a Lawyer

Some situations may trigger an immediate reaction in a person to hire a lawyer, such as being arrested, being charged with a crime or receiving notice of a pending lawsuit against you. However, there are many other reasons why you may need to hire a lawyer.


Individuals often choose to hire a lawyer when they enter into a contract. For example, they may hire a lawyer before they buy or sell a house, other real estate or a business. They may also hire a lawyer if they want to create a lease to use with a new tenant.

Businesses hire lawyers when they create contracts with high financial stakes with customers. In some of these situations, the customer may also want a lawyer to be involved in the transaction on his or her behalf in order to include terms in the contract that are favorable to the customer.

Business Operations

As the typical job of individuals continues to change and add more flexibility, more people decide to become entrepreneurs. These individuals may require the services of a lawyer to organize a business.

After business formation matters are finalized, individuals may have additional needs, such as intellectual property rights, workplace safety, tax issues or employment law issues.


Another common reason for someone to hire a lawyer is if he or she is involved in an accident. Whether the individual caused the accident or was a victim, a personal injury lawyer may be retained in order to protect or assert the individualís legal rights.

Family Law Matters

In many cases, family law matters become quite contentious. Individuals may need the assistance of a family law lawyer to help with a divorce or child custody case. Lawyers are often involved in the process of adoption as well.

Legal Questions

If a person has a question about his or her legal rights, a lawyer may be hired to provide clarity to the situation. For example, a person may have been fired from a job and believes that the firing is not legal.

Criminal Matters

A criminal defense lawyer should be consulted when a criminal matter arises. The sooner a person consults with a criminal defense lawyer, the more likely it is that the lawyer can protect his or her legal rights.

A criminal defense lawyer may be present at lineups or during interrogations to help protect the client. If the client has already been arrested or charged with a crime, a lawyer should still be contacted.


When contemplating whether to hire a lawyer, there are several considerations. Here are a few things to think about before making this important decision:

What Is at Stake?

The more serious the legal matter, the more important it is to have effective legal representation. When an individualís freedom, reputation, property, finances or family is at stake, it is important to protect these important aspects of the individualís life. It is often worth the individualís peace of mind of knowing that a legal matter is being handled by a professional instead of by someone who is a novice of the law.

How Much Time Do You Have?

Sometimes individuals may believe that they have a lot of time to handle a particular matter only to find out that they do not. In many lawsuits, an individual only has 30 days to provide a proper answer. In personal injury cases, the individual may only have a certain amount of time to file the lawsuit because of the stateís statute of limitations.

What Is the Remedy that You Are Seeking?

While you may be able to resolve some legal matters on your own, this may not be the case with every situation. You should have a clear objective of what you hope to accomplish. For example, if you were fired from your job, you may want to be reinstated. Alternatively, you may simply want monetary compensation for the amount of time that you were unemployed and searching for alternative employment.

If your child was injured by a defective product, you may want compensation for the medical expenses you incurred. However, you may also want a court to order a company to stop producing such a product in order to protect other children from injuries. Be sure that you consider this important aspect of a case and whether a lawyer may be able to help.

Copyright HG.org

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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