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What is Legal Advice and When do You Need It?

While the legal profession is a popular theme in entertainment media and just about everybody knows roughly what it is that lawyers do, the fact is that many people fail to understand when they really need legal advice. Often, this leads to them acting in ways that might be detrimental to their own interests. Any time you are involved in a legal matter and you are at all worried or confused about the outcome, asking yourself if you need advice from a lawyer is a good idea.

What is Legal Advice?

If you are trying to decide whether or not to pursue advice, it helps to have a clear idea what it is that you’re talking about. It’s possible to receive legal information from a variety of resources, some of which might be incredibly detailed. This information can be found in a variety of resources online and through other channels. It’s also true that you might have a legal question and ask a friend of family member who has been through the same thing. Those are both useful steps, but they aren’t the same thing as getting advice from a lawyer who has entered into an attorney-client relationship with you.

This kind of advice is usually highly specific, and it has to do with the unique circumstances of your case. Usually, it is more prescriptive and more direct than the kinds of help you would receive through other channels. Often, looking for more general legal information is the first step toward retaining a lawyer who can give you proper advice.

When do You Need It?

There are a wide variety of circumstances that call for you to seek out legal advice. Some of the more common ones probably occur to you regularly—divorce, estate planning, when you are suspected of a crime, and when you are contemplating suing someone or you are being sued. Beyond that, though, there are a variety of less common circumstances that also call for legal advice. This might include being deposed or serving as a witness in a trial, both of which can sometimes have legal implications. It can also be useful when you face questions about your taxes or about how to move forward with new business venture.

What to do When You Are Unsure

If you think you might need legal advice and you’re not sure, the best thing you can do is to seek out legal information that helps you make the decision. If it comes right down to it, though, it is better to ask for help from a lawyer and not need it than to need it and wish you had asked for it. That’s an important consideration anytime you think you might need to seek out counsel but you aren’t sure.

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