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There may come a time in your life where you will be in need of professional legal advice or representation, whether in court or some other legal proceeding. The reasons are manifold. You may have been injured and are seeking compensation, you may have been arrested and need legal advice, or you may be writing up a legal document and need authorized witnesses. These and many others are all cases in which you need a lawyer.

There are also incidents where it’s not entirely clear whether a lawyer is necessary. In most small claims courts, for example, it’s often cheaper and more expedient to represent yourself.

Similarly, you may find yourself in a situation where you just need advice or information, and need alternative sources to engage.

Knowing where and when you need a lawyer is important. On the one hand, you can rest assured a legal professional will have all of your bases covered. On the other hand, you could avoid the expenses of hiring a lawyer at times when you are, in fact, capable of getting by without one. Become familiar with the signs so you can make a proper, informed decision.

What Exactly Is The Problem?

Lawyers rarely act for free. While the state is obligated to provide a lawyer should you be unable to provide one yourself, this is only under certain circumstances, and you have no control over who that lawyer may be. So clearly defining your problem can help you come to a decision as to whether a lawyer is necessary in the first place.

While there are many circumstances such as an arrest or a lawsuit that may obviously require legal intervention, there are also other circumstances in which it can be useful to have a lawyer. If you find yourself in the process of purchasing a home, setting up a business, drafting a will, adopting a child, or entering into a legally binding contract, seeking the assistance of a skilled legal professional can be invaluable.

First, they can make sure that any paperwork you’re drafting is legally watertight — with no unforeseen loopholes or oversights that could cause trouble later. The wording of a contract or document can often be confusing, even deliberately misleading or vague. An attorney is more likely to spot small print that could potentially harm you later. Second, they can make certain you understand what you’re doing from a legal standpoint. Finally, they can advise you as to any laws, ordinances or regulations that may be able to offer you further assistance or protections in the proceedings.

How Much Time Do You Have?

Sometimes the situation leaves you with a fair amount of breathing space. If your court hearing doesn’t take place for a few months or so, then you have some time to consider the circumstances and decide in your own time whether you really need any legal help. The same goes if you’re thinking of drafting a legal document or opening a business.

However, you will encounter situations where time is of the essence. If you’ve been injured and are seeking compensation, for example, you will need to settle the matter quickly if you want your suit to succeed. It’s also never too early to seek legal advice for something relatively far off, such as advice regarding a will or questions regarding business taxes. Of course, if you’re being questioned by the police, you will need a lawyer immediately in order to see you safely through the negotiations.

Is This Something You Can Do Yourself?

There are certain legal circumstances where a lawyer may be useful, but not necessary. Many small claims courts will have stakes that simply aren’t worth the expense of hiring a lawyer to represent you. If all you’re suing for is the return of small sentimental items, like a couple of rings or a PC, then you’d be spending more for the legal representation than what you’d be getting in return. In general, if you’re in court for something worth less than $5,000, legal aid may not be worth your time.

It’s ultimately up to you whether you decide to seek the advice and support of a lawyer in most cases. While not always necessary, the advice they can offer can often prove highly advantageous to your case. Most injury claims or complaints against businesses or organizations can also be settled relatively quickly out of court. Other regulated businesses and institutions, such as banks, will have their own state-run agencies that can pursue the case for you without needing the intervention of an attorney.

Consider your options carefully and try to keep them as open as possible. If you do need legal advice, do your research and make sure you are getting the right firm to represent you given the nature of your case and their area of expertise. If you are looking for a top lawyer in Canada, there are  number of lawyer directories you can browse. Find a specialist for your needs that has a free consultation so you can see if you can work with them.