No one likes to think about needing to hire a lawyer. And that’s because hiring legal representation usually means something’s not quite gone to plan. But everyone faces difficulties in life. It’s not the difficulties, but how we handle them, that defines us.
Lawyers, however, don’t come cheap. And those fees soon mount up until the cost is overwhelming. Of course, if your situation is complex, then going without legal representation won’t be an option. But who do you turn to for legal help when you’re strapped for cash?
Do I Need a Lawyer?
The first question to ask yourself is whether you actually need a lawyer in the first place. As mentioned, if the case is complex, then the need for legal representation is obvious.
For example, wrongful deaths can be complicated cases, especially with companies and outside influence involved. So hiring a wrongful death lawyer is in your best interests. But that’s not always a prerequisite. And you can save yourself, or your loved ones, a pretty penny by just opting out of the need for legal help.
Deciding whether you need a lawyer should start with having open conversations with several attorneys and representatives. That way, you’ll be able to get more of a feel of the complexity of your case. And you may find along the way that you stumble across someone willing to represent you on a manageable budget.
If you have the time and means to educate yourself on legal matters and jargon, you can go down the road of representing yourself. But this should be a last resort if you’re in a real bind. There is plenty of free legal advice and aid available that you shouldn’t need to resort to this. And let’s explore a few of them.
There are lots of attorneys that offer free phone or video consultations. You’re not likely to come out of the meeting knowing exactly how to handle your case. But it is an opportunity to get some quality information and a better sense of what you’re facing legally. They may be able to point you in the direction of someone who will work for free or at a bargain-basement rate too.
If you need a lawyer but have no cash, legal aid societies could be your saving grace. Legal aid societies are nonprofit organizations that can be found across the length and breadth of the country; they provide free legal services for families with low income.
It’s definitely worth your time looking into it, but be aware that there are certain requirements you have to hit to get legal help for free. Households often earn too much money to qualify, but it’s an avenue worth looking into.
Contact the Courthouse
If you can’t afford a lawyer, a good first move would be to contact the courthouse. You’re highly unlikely to be the first person looking for legal aid with very little cash, so they’ll have a good idea about which direction to point you in.
Up and Comers
If you want some free legal advice, look towards law students. Plenty of law schools have a pro-bono service where they can offer advice for free. It’s good practice for them, and you get some help.
Contact the Bar
The American Bar Association is a good place to look for help. They have a list of affordable legal services and nonprofit law firms. Plus, they’re categorized by state and are designed to connect you with legal assistance even if you don’t have any cash.