(844) 815-9632

consulting with counsel

Can I Hire a Family Member to Be My Lawyer?

If you have a legal issue, it's only natural to ask the lawyer in the family some questions. Whether you want to hire family as counsel is another matter, however, and one to consider carefully. There are advantages to knowing your lawyer well and to having counsel that really cares about you. But family relationships can be complicated, and mixing it up is not always wise, even if it is allowed. So let's take a look at why you might not want to hire your cousin Vinny to be your counsel, although technically there is no prohibition. Too Much Information? When you talk to a lawyer about a matter, counsel will often have questions that touch on a personal or private aspect of your life. Whether you're planning your estate or defending against a criminal accusation, legal issues can be extremely personal. Do you want Vinny to know everything, considering that you'll also be eating Thanksgiving dinner with him next year? You need to be forthcoming with your lawyer. For some people and for some matters it is easier to share private details with a stranger in a professional context than with a cousin you used to have slumber parties with. For other people, a close cousin is the perfect representative. What is best for you will depend on your case, your relationship, and your other options. Maybe Vinny knows somebody he can recommend to represent you. Having a lawyer in the family is a great starting point for an inquiry but your cousin's office should not necessarily be the last stop. Also, because attorneys are licensed by state bar associations, you can always inquire with local authorities and find out more about your prospective lawyer. Money Matters Other awkward matters arise when it comes to representation, like legal fees. Depending how established your cousin Vinny's legal practice is, you may or may not be able to afford his fees. Maybe Vinny offers you a deal or graciously says he will handle the matter and not to worry about the money. Sounds nice, but you should still find out Vinny's usual price for representation in this type of matter. You do not want your lawyer to feel taken advantage of because resentment doesn't lead to great representation and it is hard not to resent someone who wants work for nothing. Lawyers do all kinds of things for clients -- from making phone calls to writing letters to going to court to filling out forms and much more. All of it is informed by their study of the law. Years of training and practice go into becoming a lawyer. Keep that in mind when you take up Vinny's time with your personal legal matters. Consult With Counsel If you're in need of legal representation and have no family lawyer or prefer to avoid involving that person in your matters, do not worry. There are many able attorneys and many of them consult for free or a minimal fee. Meet some people, tell your story, and find the lawyer who is right for you. Related Resources: Find a Lawyer Near You (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory) Top Ten Reasons to Hire a Lawyer (FindLaw's Learn About the Law) Interviewing a Lawyer (FindLaw's Learn About the Law) Where to Find a Lawyer (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
continue reading

Preparing to Meet a Real Estate Attorney

When you are meeting a lawyer for the first time on a real estate matter of any kind, it's a good idea to make a list. Before your appointment, know your concerns and questions. That's the first step. But it is a big one and will help with what's next, which is meeting your lawyer. So let's break down this list. Don't worry, it's not complicated. Making a List Why are you meeting with the lawyer? Are you seeking a specific service with respect to a particular place or general guidance? Whatever the issue is, try to boil that down to a few sentences. Write them down. Once you know your general goal for consulting with a real estate attorney, you'll have a better sense of what to ask. If you are buying a home, say, and want a lawyer to review the documents -- of which there are many -- consider all your concerns and gather all the paperwork. As you put your file together, questions will arise. Jot them down. Now you have a list. It is natural to have many questions when buying a home. There is a lot to the process apart from finding the right place -- securing financing, passing inspections, filling out endless forms with terms that are confusing and contain new vocabulary. If you're involved in a dispute, that too will involve paperwork, complaints, letters, evidence. Getting help is a good idea and getting organized in advance ensures you get the best guidance. Whatever the reason for your meeting, the key to preparation is gathering your thoughts and relevant documents. When you talk to the lawyer you'll be able to convey your concerns and needs clearly and provide context. Those are the most important steps. Next, you need to meet with the attorney. Consult With Counsel If you are dealing with a real estate matter, or just contemplating one, it's important to get good information and independent guidance. If you are buying a home, for example, the agent won't be your representative. Similarly, if you're dealing with a dispute, having wise and reliable counsel is critical. Get help. Related Resources: Find Real Estate Lawyers Near You (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory) Checklist: Are You Ready to Buy a Home? (FindLaw's Learn About the Law) Types of Legal Fees (FindLaw's Learn About the Law) Getting Legal Help With a Tenants' Rights Issue (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
continue reading