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5 Common Reasons You’ll Need A Legal Expert

5 Common Reasons You’ll Need A Legal Expert

It is said that any man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client. In a society where the law seems to be more complex every day, it is all the more important to know when you need a lawyer, how they can help you, and how much they can cost.

Here are five situations where you need a lawyer or you will end up in a much worse financial or legal situation.

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1. Charged with a crime

I could begin and end this section by posting this famous video on why you should never talk to a police officer without a lawyer present. But there are so many things about criminal law which people do not know – or worse, think they know by watching some TV crime drama. A good criminal lawyer will let you know what rights you have during every stage of the criminal process, will look to your best interests, and will formulate a defense strategy which will see you go free.

You don’t need the ghost of Johnnie Cochran or some expensive lawyer. FindLaw should give you access to a good criminal defense lawyer in the area. It is advised to look around and scout several lawyers before finding one at the right cost (check to see what their retainer is above all else) that who you can trust.

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2. Car accidents

But what if the destruction to my car had been more severe, or if I had been injured? What if the other driver refused to admit fault? Then I would need to hire a personal injury attorney. You will need a personal injury attorney to prove that the other person is liable and in the case of a severe accident, a lawyer should be the first person you talk to.

3. Writing a will

Not everyone needs a lawyer to write a will. If you just want to leave all your property to your only child, then you can have a witnessed will written out and things will probably be fine.

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But there are many legal traps which an untrained person can fall into when writing a will, especially if you plan to split your property several ways. Even if you think that your will is simple, you should still have a legal expert examine it. Otherwise, your heirs may engage in a long legal battle which can cost more than whatever you left behind for them. A couple hours’ time with a lawyer and maybe a thousand dollars in fees can save them thousands of dollars.

4. Starting a business

Starting a business is not as simple as you might. As the Small Business Administration points out, there are environmental laws, finance laws, employment laws, and so many other laws which any new business needs to keep track of to avoid a lawsuit. Having a lawyer in advance can ensure you are following the proper regulations and prevent a lawsuit or an angry IRS letter.

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A good business lawyer will cost somewhere between $350 and $800 per hour, and should be willing to teach you the basics of business law so that you can function without him. But like writing a will, paying a lawyer a fee now can help you avoid more expensive disasters down the road.

5. Employment termination

This is a very tricky field. No one likes losing their job, especially when they think they have been fired unjustly. But most workers these days are at-will, which permits the employer to fire you for almost any reason whatsoever.

But “almost any” is not “any.” If your employer was discriminating against you, or if he retaliated against you for whistle blowing, or if you have a written contract, these can be a few reasons among others to believe you have been terminated wrongly.  Under those circumstances, you should contact an employment lawyer who can help you out as soon as possible. The longer you delay, the more time your employer has to prepare for a lawsuit, and the weaker your case will be. Note that unlike other types of law, the intricacies of employment law often means that an employment will charge you for an initial consultation.

Featured photo credit: Tim Louis via flickr.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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