Do I Really Need a Lawyer?

Many people openly ask their friends and family this question. Others silently ponder the question to themselves. The answer is probably "YES" if you are asking the question at all. The one to whom you should be addressing the question, however, is the lawyer. He/she is really the only one who is qualified to give you an answer.

Generally speaking, people are afraid to ask this question of a lawyer because they are apprehensive about asking a "stranger" something of a personal nature or they are afraid of how much the lawyer is going to charge them in fees. Remember this: (1) the lawyer is in practice to help you, and (2) the earlier a lawyer is involved, generally the lower the amount of the lawyer's fee.

Many people in our current internet and do-it-yourself world believe that they can go to the internet and find just the right form that will solve their legal problem and therefore they do not need to consult a lawyer at all. This is WRONG THINKING at its worst, and the following are some reasons why:

[1] These forms were never designed for "you" (or your individual situation) but for mass consumption in every state by "the average person". Laws vary from State to State and so do the rules, regulations, case law interpretations and governmental forms promulgated by local authorities vary from State to State. In Texas, the legislature meets every two years, and our laws frequently change somewhat with each legislative session. Other states' legislatures convene every year, and in some states the legislature is always in session. The U.S. Congress is always in session. Governmental agencies at all levels of government are always "on the job". Local city and county governing bodies generally are meeting regularly all year. Courts at every level hear cases and appeals all year.

[2] These forms may or may not have been prepared by a lawyer. And, even if they were prepared by a lawyer, they most likely were not prepared by a Texas lawyer, but rather by a "big name lawyer" who has no interest or knowledge of the laws which are applicable to your case, nor does this attorney have any interest in "your case" and its outcome.

[3] These forms also do not address your biggest problem, that being what you "DO NOT KNOW" or "THINK YOU KNOW BUT REALLY DO NOT". There are subtle variances, nuances and unknowns that you do not have the legal education or sophistication to recognize. These are the things that differentiate one case from another, and that even the very best standardized form cannot address. You are NOT "the average person", and your case is NOT identical to anyone else's case. How and when to use any form correctly requires many years of intense legal study and experience, neither of which you have.

For these reasons and many others, most of the internet forms that you will encounter are far more likely to do you significant harm than to do you good. And things you do incorrectly or have not even thought of will adversely effect your desired outcome and the amount of money you ultimately have to pay someone.

In the end, please consider these points before making your decision:

[1] I am here to help you resolve your problems if I can;

[2] Again, I would ask you to consider my qualifications.

[A] I have spent years studying the law and have a doctoral degree in jurisprudence.

[B] I have nearly 38 years of experience.

[C] I am "AV® Preeminent™" rated by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating given to an individual attorney or law firm. Martindale-Hubbell is the oldest [first published in 1868] and most widely recognized and respected reference directory of attorney listings published in America. The "A" portion refers to the Legal Ability Rating given the attorney in his/her areas of practice, and here, it specifically means the rating is "from Very High to Preeminent". The "V" portion refers to the General Ethical Standards Rating given the attorney, and here, it specifically means the rating is "Very High". and

[D] I am an active participant in the College of the State Bar of Texas which means that each and every year I physically attend at least twice as many hours of Continuing Legal Education courses as are required of lawyers generally who are licensed to practice law in Texas. The State Bar of Texas annually reports that on average only 4.00% of all lawyers licensed annually to practice law in Texas (something in excess of 88,000) are so qualified.

(next: Do You Charge for an Initial Consulation?)