When most people think of attorneys, they think of lawsuits. They think of courtrooms, juries, dramatic witnesses, and guilty verdicts. This makes many people think they only need an attorney when they are involved in a lawsuit or a crime. But in reality, you want an attorney in your life long before you end up in the courtroom. As an attorney myself, I can confidently tell you a good attorney is not a mercenary, some hired gun you bring in to defend or prosecute a case. A good attorney should be a trusted counsellor and advisor who can guide you through many of life’s decisions. With that thought in mind, let’s talk about some ways an attorney can enrich your life.
An attorney can make connections for you. As you go through life, there are many different people you will need to access. You may need a financial advisor, an insurance agent, a realtor, a probate attorney, a business consultant, a tax professional, a government official, or someone to help you with that speeding ticket you just got. Even if your attorney can’t perform all these services, he or she will know someone who can. Attorneys work with other professionals every day of their working lives. It’s a huge part of what we do. Don’t choose a professional based on a Google search. Use your attorney, your trusted advisor, to make a connection for you. This way you can be confident in your choice instead of flying blind into an important decision.
An attorney can help you evaluate risk. When you make big, far-reaching life decisions you want to minimize risk. Considering an investment? Run it by your attorney. Are you about to sign a long and complicated contract? Have your attorney look it over. Writing an important email, letter, or request? Your attorney can proofread it and provide feedback. Is your employer asking you to sign a non-compete agreement or non-disclosure? Your attorney can let you know if it’s a good idea. Essentially, your attorney can help you go through life knowing that the decisions you make aren’t setting you up for future failure. Don’t make these decisions alone.
And yes, an attorney can help you navigate life’s conflicts. At our core, attorneys are problem solvers. So when something inevitably goes wrong in life, we can help you decide if it’s worth your time and money to file that lawsuit, or how to defend against one. And you’ll be confident knowing your attorney knows you and understands your goals, and isn’t just thinking of collecting a fee. It might be necessary to bring in a “hired gun” in some cases, but it’s always important to have your trusted advisor involved to look out for your best interest.
You’re probably thinking, “that’s all nice in theory, but I can’t afford an attorney.” In reality, you can’t afford to be without an attorney. When you develop a relationship with an attorney, that attorney will be conscious of your financial situation and will typically not hit you with exorbitant or unnecessary charges. When you do need to pay for a contract or a lawsuit, you will save a fortune in the long run by having a professional do it right and make sure you are protected.
The key is finding an attorney who is a good fit. It should be someone who makes you feel heard and understood. Try to get together with your attorney regularly, maybe every other month or once per quarter. Keep your attorney up to date with the important things happening in your life. Many times, a good attorney can identify issues or risks you didn’t even realize existed. And you will sleep better at night knowing you have someone who truly cares watching your back while you navigate this journey of life.