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When should you speak with a lawyer?

 

Most people recognize that if they have been sued or arrested for a crime, they probably need a lawyer. While they may know that they can appear "pro se" and defend themselves in a civil or criminal case, they may also have heard the old saying phrased by Abraham Lincoln, as "He who represents himself has a fool for a client."

Okay, so you won't represent yourself during litigation. However, is there anytime, absent impending litigation, that you should speak with an attorney? If you own and operate a business, you may think that you really don't need the expense of an attorney except when critical litigation develops. After all, attorneys are expensive.

 

Two factors support developing a relationship with an attorney at times other than during litigation. The first is, by working with an attorney, you can develop a personal relationship that allows them to better understand the goals of your business and under circumstances beyond the stress of litigation.

Second, having an attorney review basic elements of your business, from how your business is organized to the type of contracts you rely on, and an attorney can provide recommendations on improving your documentation or protecting your business. Or perhaps you need help with regulatory compliance or proper hiring procedures.

These small steps can help prevent mistakes that can lead to much more expensive litigation down the road. A having a preexisting relationship with an attorney who understands your business means that when litigation needs arise, they can help immediately, and do not need substantial preparation to figure out what is going on with your business.

 

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