Demystifying Legal Services- Part 1

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Do I really need a lawyer? Demystifying Legal Services – Lesson 1

Hello Friends and Colleagues!For a long time, I have wrestled with the modern perception of the stereotypical lawyer.What comes to your mind when you think about needing a lawyer or hiring someone for legal services?  For many people the feelings that arise may be less than positive…As a lawyer licensed in Minnesota and Florida, I have no problem admitting that if I were to personally need a lawyer, my thoughts and impressions would include:  stressed, hard to understand terminology, egotistical people, hard to know what to do, will I go broke, etc., etc.  You may have also managed a few positives such as driven, resourceful or smart.  I shudder to ask if caring, compassionate and concerned professional make the top ten list?

The foregoing concerns are all part of the impetus for this new blog series which is representative of my passion to “Demystify Legal Services” for the average person (you) and the general public.  So my goal here is to offer you some tips to help you understand and approach your legal matter as well as what to look for when hiring a legal professional?

Following this logic, the first and most pressing question for many “Do I even need to consult with a lawyer?”  Thus, I will address this question first in todays session with other topics to be covered in future sessions.

It goes without saying that we are firmly entrenched in the information age.  Any professional, myself included, should be aware that information about any topic is immediately available from multiple professional sources on line.

So in deciding whether to hire a lawyer, regardless of your legal concerns, the first question is whether you are “geared up” to become a legal researcher?  I have worked with many a smart person over the years that hired me because they were not so “geared up”.  I recommend some initial research for any person “prior to consulting a lawyer” and I also recommend a balanced approach to the research meaning that you should obtain information from a number of different sources so that you’re not potentially duped by one person’s opinion.  When you have some grasp on your legal concerns and objectives, you will need to make the decision whether to hire a lawyer?

At this point, some might decide to go it alone and/or pursue “self help” legal services.  However, the reason to forego self help at least temporarily and hire a competent lawyer for a consultation (and even to pay for the advice) is that as a non-lawyer/consumer, you do not know what you don’t know” and an experienced attorney arguably does know what you couldn’t possibly know due to his/her years of exposure to the subject matter.

So the “take away” for today is do your own homework but be cautious about the questions that you may not know to ask.   Be open to filling in the blanks by hiring a competent attorney for at least an review or consult and I recommend someone with at least five years of background in your specific area of concern.  A footnote about paying for a consultation (because most everyone nowadays loves free consults) is that the information obtained during a paid consult may be more complete and more specific to your situation because that attorney will have in the back of his/her mind that you are paying for the legal advice and thus may be more motivated.  Also, you should be aware that there are ethical and moral factors relating to legal advice offered for compensation…just saying.

I hope this is practical and helpful.  Be prepared for more of this kind of information in the months to come.

Until next time friends…


Steven J.Gibbs

8695 College Pkwy Ste. 1358, Fort Myers, FL 33919

Phone: 239-415-7495


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