There’s a long-pervading thought that people engage lawyers only when they absolutely need to. After all, lawyers are present in the most emotionally charged times of our lives, when we’re feeling vulnerable, wronged, hurt, excited, or expectant. Sometimes we feel all of these things at once.

Part of this thought is true: we call a family lawyer when we’re seeking adoption (or a divorce), we find a personal injury lawyer when we’re physically hurt (or trying not to be financially hurt), and we hire a real estate lawyer when we’re looking to buy a new house (or sell an old one.) In these punctuated moments of life we seek attorneys because we need experts to help us wade through complicated legal matters.

While there are no black and white times of when to call a lawyer, we can highlight some of the most common times that people search for a lawyer, and discuss the reasons why doing so may not be a bad idea.

  1. A contract is involved

Contracts are everywhere, whether they’re explicit or implicit, written or verbal, signed or agreed upon. In fact, Smokeball is named after what is widely considered to be one of the first contract cases in modern times. If there is any chance that someone will be held to something (i.e. if it will involve a contract) you may consider finding a lawyer. Most lawyers deal with contracts, so you don’t necessarily need a “contract” lawyer.

  1. The “other” party has involved a lawyer

You’re probably familiar with the term “lawyering up.” It’s when things get serious, and when someone hires a lawyer to represent their best interests. When you are involved in a transaction, litigation, or (mid)understanding, and the other side gets a lawyer, you might think about finding one too. This doesn’t just apply to contentious cases (i.e. when someone is suing someone else), even amicable agreements are often best handled by two (or more) lawyers.

  1. Someone could be arrested or go to jail

The vast majority of law does not involve criminal cases, investigators, or police. However, if you are ever involved in a matter where those things are involved, you may want a lawyer. It’s one of the main reasons why the Miranda rightsyou have the right to remain silent…you have the right to an attorney—are widely known by anyone who watches legal dramas on TV.

  1. There are complex bills involved

Like contracts, bills are often complex, filled with “legalese,” and may take months (if not years) to settle. Whether you’re addressing a business deal, a hospital expense, or any other sum of money that is being disputed, you might search for a lawyer in these times.

  1. You don’t have time

Many people avoid lawyers because they’re scared. After all, lawyers typically are involved when things are “serious.” But also, lawyers are involved when there is a lot of complex work and communication to be done. In these times, you need to get on with your life. This is when people need to look at legal representation as an investment, not just in a favorable outcome, but in time saved and better spent elsewhere.

In the end, seeking the help of a lawyer for personal legal matters is just that: a personal decision. It needs to be noted that Smokeball is not a law firm and cannot provide legal advice of any kind. This post is not intended in any way as a guide for when to seek out legal advice or representation. For assistance in any legal matter, please consult a legal professional.

However, what Smokeball can provide is legal software for lawyers, attorneys, and paralegals looking to assist people in need. Smokeball is legal case management software designed with three things in mind: productivity, profitability (via accurate time tracking), and expertise.

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