Linda Leitz: When should you hire a lawyer? – Colorado Springs Gazette

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Linda Leitz

Linda Leitz
Financial management includes mitigation of risk. And sometimes that means hiring an attorney.
Financial professionals (and financial writers) should be quick to tell you they are not attorneys and can’t give legal advice. But knowing when to hire a legal professional isn’t always easy, especially if it’s something you don’t do on a regular basis.
Christopher Tremaroli of Tremaroli & Tremaroli says some issues don’t need legal counsel. But any issue where you feel you are “in over your head” or that is something you’re unfamiliar with deserves professional legal counsel. This might just involve a few hours or less of consulting.
Tremarolli also points out that any type of litigation outside of small claims court should involve an attorney. Other issues that benefit from an attorney are business startups, criminal matters, bodily injury or substantial property damage, tenant eviction, divorce, trademark or patent protection, buying or selling a business, employment agreements and citizenship/immigration issues, to name a few.
John Cyboron of Alpern Myers Stuart LLC counsels that “planning is always better than reacting.” And a situation where you might think you don’t need an attorney may be the exact one where you do.

Cyboron cautions, “Even and perhaps especially if you are doing ‘business’ of any sort with friends or family, get a contract and make sure you have an attorney prepare/review it. ‘Handshake deals’ with friends/family lead to the worst litigation.”
Terence Doherty of Doherty Law Firm P.C. says other situations that warrant hiring a lawyer include when you are being threatened with legal action, when the person you are negotiating with or in a dispute with has an attorney, or when you need a champion or someone to speak for you. He also suggests that if a transaction is of great importance to you — such as buying a business, starting a business, signing a contract — it’s worthwhile to consult an attorney. And think about what the cost of a negative outcome in a transaction would be in considering if it’s cost effective to hire an attorney.
Larry Gaddis of Gaddis, Herd, Craw & Adams P.C. finds that many people don’t know if they need a lawyer, but are reluctant to pay a lawyer to find out if they actually need legal advice. He points out that some folks think they have a simple situation, but when they begin asking questions, they see that the situation is more complex than they realized. A good place to get these initial questions aired, he said, is through the Call a Lawyer program, every Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. 719-473-6212. This program is staffed by volunteer lawyers as a public service through the El Paso County Bar Association.
Attorneys agree that everyone needs an estate plan. Be cautious of using online estate templates, especially if your situation has complications or if you don’t feel you understand the documents.

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