When people talk about getting legal help, it’s usually for serious issues like a lawsuit or a divorce. But real people need legal help all the time.
How do I write a will? Can I make my neighbor stop blasting music at 3 am? Is my employment contract going to come back and bite me? What about my lease? All of these are important everyday questions and all of them have a legal answer.
Assuming that you didn’t go to law school and don’t have a subscription to expensive legal research services, how do you go about finding these answers? We have some suggestions.
- Do your own research. It’s not necessarily quick, but there are resources out there if you need to answer to a legal question. You can look up the relevant laws, use a free legal research tool like FindLaw, or check out your local court website for information.
- Post on a forum. If your question is specific or personal the answer might not be out there yet. But you can post it to an expert on the Answers forum and get a free response, or at least a nudge in the right direction.
- Find your local self-help center. For issues that involve the court or at least require filing legal documents, you might be able to get some free assistance. Many courts and counties have a free self-help center with all the forms you might need and hopefully someone to help you with filling them out.
- Pay for a legal consultation. It’s not necessarily cost-effective but you might be able to get a one or two hour consultation with a local attorney. For some issues that might be a bit of overkill but for others, it could be worth it for the peace of mind. Got a lawyer in the family? You might even be able to get a discount.
- Get a legal plan. There’s a happy medium between do-it-yourself and shelling out money for a lawyer. You can join a legal plan that gives you access to phone consultations with a lawyer. Plans like LegalStreet charge a low monthly fee; in exchange, you can ask your legal questions and get help with basic legal documents. When choosing a plan, look for one that will help you now and give you a discount if you later need an attorney to represent you in court. You know, for just in case.
Disclosure: LegalStreet and FindLaw.com are owned by the same company.