This is listed first because it’s the first thing most people need to use. No higher hourly attorney consultation rates. Speak with an attorney as often as you need, for as long as you need. This alone makes our plans like no other.
Sometimes you don’t necessarily need to hire an attorney to represent you in court, you just have a question or two about a potential legal issue or how a law works. You also might want to consult an attorney because you’re filing an administrative complaint or application for benefits or assistance. For limited purposes, you may have the opportunity to consult a lawyer online, which can be cheaper and more convenient than hiring an attorney or scheduling an in-person office meeting.
Determine the scope of representation you need.
Before you consult a lawyer online, assess your situation and figure out exactly how much assistance you need. Which online service will benefit you depends on the questions you have for an attorney and how much work you expect him or her to do for you.
- There are some websites that focus more on connecting local attorneys with potential clients. If you want an attorney to advise you throughout the course of a legal proceeding, if not represent you in court, you may want to use one of these online consultation services.
- On other services, you simply post your question on a forum-like page, and anyone may answer. This may be beneficial if you’d prefer to have several different opinions on your situation at once, but keep in mind you may have to wait a while before you get an answer.
- Asking questions in a semi-public forum won’t allow you to have a direct attorney-client relationship with any attorney who answers your question.
- Because of the public manner of the communication and the lack of an attorney-client relationship, you follow the advice at your own risk. You’ll have to speak to an attorney privately if you expect to have any ability to legally rely on the attorney’s advice.
Evaluate consultation services.
Many websites offer legal consultation services, some of which are free of charge. However, you need to find out exactly what’s offered by each service before you can decide if it will work for you.
- Think about what kinds of questions you need to ask and whether you want to ask them in a public forum.
- There are several websites that offer consultations from attorneys free of charge, but you have to ask your question in a forum that is open to the public.
- After you ask your question, you may get answers from several attorneys – but there’s never any guarantee as to how long you’ll have to wait before you get the answer, or whether the answer you get will be helpful.
- If the public-forum approach won’t work for you, or if you need an answer right away, you may be better off going with one of the services that allow you to chat online with an attorney directly in real-time.
Working Directly with a Private Attorney
Gather information about your situation. To answer your question, the attorney likely will need to understand a little about the issue and the reason you need help. It might make things easier if you create a brief synopsis or timeline describing the issue at hand.
- Even if the attorney hasn’t asked you for specific information, think of what you would need to know to answer the question.
- Write down as many facts and details as you can about your situation. Keep in mind that something you don’t think is important might have crucial relevance to the law that governs your particular situation.
- If your questions are related to specific documents you or someone else has prepared, such as a contract or a will, have the document ready to share with the attorney if he or she asks for it.
Set up an account. Once you’ve decided which service you want to use, you typically have to create a user account so you can log in and ask your question. Creating an account may provide other benefits such as the ability to ask follow-up questions or continue working with the same attorney.
- You may have to provide debit or credit card information on some websites, particularly those that offer paid or subscription services – even if you intend to use free services only.
- Setting up a user account may give you a level of privacy. You need to decide whether you’re comfortable asking a question that may be posted in a public forum, or if you’d rather work privately with an attorney one-on-one.
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