The number of people who wait far too long to seek legal advice when faced with a legal issue always stuns me. Even when a party to serious criminal cases or when sued in a lawsuit, there is a population that takes these matters too lightly.
I receive calls from people who, sometimes, are just days away from a court date and, yet, they have not retained legal counsel. I take calls from people seeking legal advice months after being involved in litigation and approaching legal deadlines and, still, no legal representation.
These delays in seeking legal advice and representation only result in bigger legal issues, obstacles and expense. Some of the greater issues created cannot be overcome. Waiting to take action might preclude some remedies that existed in the earlier phase of the case. Statute of limitations is the law that governs the timeframe during which certain types of cases may be pursued.
Scheduling a consultation with a lawyer is always a very good idea, even when there are uncertainties about the course of action one might take. In fact, this is exactly why consulting with a lawyer in the earliest stage is the recommendation. The time to assess circumstances, consider the pros and cons of possible action and to plan a course of action is during the early phase of any legal matter. As time passes, so do options.
Legal advice should, naturally, come from a lawyer. One might think this part is obvious but, apparently, it is not. I talk to so many people who have delayed talking to a lawyer because they have gotten their advice from, what I call, "the street committee." If one needs a tooth pulled, would not a dentist be the professional to do the job? Is a dentist not the starting place for a tooth issue? Why, then, would one take the advice of retailers, doctors, unemployed, realtors, ... for legal matters?! Just boggles my mind!
Acting on behalf of self is considered "pro se" but acting on behalf of another, is a different matter. There are many problems with taking legal advice from one who is not licensed to render legal counsel. Doing so is problematic for the "client" and the "counselor." The person seeking advice is misinformed and faces a host of problems (as described above) when delaying needed legal advice. The person giving advice is teetering on practicing law without a license.
When encountering a legal issue, do not delay and, please, seek legal counsel from one who is licensed to give legal counsel. The price to pay for failing to seek appropriate professional counsel and needed assistance in a timely manner could be much costlier, in more ways than one, than ever imagined.
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