When to hire a lawyer?

By Fajer Ahmed

Lawyers assist clients when certain situations arise which require an expert’s knowledge of the law, as well as critical and out of the box legal thinking. Lawyers’ obligations also include protecting clients and ensuring that they get their rights as provided by the law. So, when is the right time to hire a professional lawyer? And what should we expect from a lawyer?

Before hiring a lawyer, you should ask yourself the following questions:

* Have I done everything I can to negotiate the conflict, for it to be resolved amicably? You should probably try to negotiate first personally before hiring a lawyer, so as to not waste your time and money as well as other resources when hiring a lawyer. Sometimes things may be negotiated.

* Is the situation affecting me negatively mentally or emotionally?  If the situation is negatively affecting you, it might be a good idea to hire a lawyer.

* Are the other parties going to be more hostile when they find out that I have hired a lawyer? Sometimes unfortunately, hiring a lawyer may make the situation worse as the other party may become more hostile. For example, if you are asking for monetary benefits from an ex-boss, the company may become more hostile when they find out that you hired a lawyer and would need their legal team to be involved, which may further delay things.

What questions should you always ask a lawyer?

* Have you dealt with a similar situation?

* What is your area of expertise?

* How much are you charging in legal fees?

* How long does it take to resolve a similar situation?

What documents to request from your lawyer?

* Bar association ID or permit – this is to ensure that they have the right to practice.

* Proposal – outline in writing the answers to the above questions – always get things in writing so that the terms are clear to both you and your lawyer.

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