What should you consider before you hire a lawyer?


It never hurts to talk to a lawyer, and it may be the best thing you can do if you think you have a legal problem that you can't resolve yourself. At Daniel A. Gruhn LLC, an initial consultation is always free of charge. 


Short of hiring a lawyer, though, you may want to look at alternative sources to resolve your legal issues. For example:


  • Many companies and public utilities offer customer service departments that effectively address consumer problems and complaints
  • Many state attorney general offices and other agencies have consumer protection departments.   (It may not be a good idea to try to gain an advantage in a legal dispute by threatening to contact a government agency if an adversarial party doesn’t comply with your demands. It is possible that such action could be characterized as attempted extortion on your part.)
  • If you have a problem with a regulated industry such as banking or insurance, contact the agency in your state responsible for overseeing that industry.
  • Many community groups such as elder associations, civil rights groups and other organizations offer free legal help and information.

When do you need a lawyer's help?


Sometimes it's a no-brainer, such as when you get sued or when you're arrested or charged with a crime. Keep in mind, however, that people hire lawyers for advice and expertise all the time, in all kinds of situations. While you may be able to get through a legal problem without hiring a lawyer, you should always remember that when you represent yourself, you might have a "fool for a client," as the saying goes.


One of the first things to ask yourself when deciding whether to consult an attorney is: "What's at stake?" When your finances or liberties are in serious jeopardy, the obvious answer is to get legal help. But what is serious? An ordinary parking summons is a brush with the law, and you may not need to consult with an attorney to pay the fine or even to fight it. However, if you've accumulated a number of unpaid parking tickets and a warrant has been issued for your arrest, you probably will want to hire a lawyer to help you best resolve the situation and to perhaps save you money or even keep you out of jail.


It is also much easier to rest comfortably after consulting with an experienced lawyer for important undertakings such as tax and estate planning, drafting of a will and trust, negotiating business deals and even pursuing personal family matters such as adopting children.

How quickly should you consult a lawyer?


In many situations, it is obvious that you need to act fast, but even if you think you have lots of time to consider your alternatives, deadlines sneak up on you. Lawyers also need time to prepare, so it's always better to start looking sooner rather than later.


If you've been injured in an accident, keep in mind that there are time limits on your right to file a lawsuit. These "statutes of limitation" vary greatly from state to state and depend upon the fact and type of each case. In some instances, the law requires a claimant to notify potential defendants about any injury within an extremely short period of time—in as little as a few weeks or months.


If you sit on your rights, you could lose them.   For example, you might have been angry for years over your neighbor's fence encroaching on part of your property, but if you wait too long without objecting or taking some legal action, the law might give your neighbor the right to leave the fence there permanently.

What are you trying to achieve?


This is an easy question to answer if you find yourself as a defendant in a civil suit or charged with a crime. In these cases, your goal is to keep your money out of your adversary's pocket or avoid criminal sanctions.


In other situations, your objective may be less clear. If you feel your employer unlawfully fired you, you might want to get your job back.   If you suffered an injury from a defective product, you might wish to recover money damages. You may also be faced with a situation where you need to seek an injunction against someone to either force action or inaction on another’s part. Think about these things before you hire a lawyer.


Always, you must be realistic about your chances of winning and what your case is worth.

*While the information on this site is about legal issues, it is not to be construed as legal advice, and access thereto or receipt of information therefrom does not create or constitute a lawyer/client relationship. Moreover, due to the rapidly changing nature of the law, we make no warranty or guarantee concerning the accuracy or reliability of the content of this site or of other sites to which we link.

Atty. Daniel A. Gruhn

Gruhn Law Office LLC

308 Sixth Street

Racine, WI 53403


262-637-8870 fax


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