This is my first effort to blog about the law, how it affects your life, when you need a lawyer, how to choose one, how to negotiate your fees, what to expect and all that other kind of fun stuff for people looking to hire a lawyer. It is confusing, stressful, important, and it is true that many lawyers are mostly concerned about getting paid and while they may do a good job representing you they may not have your best interests at heart. By that I mean they may not look at the practicalities of the situation, figure out the least expensive solution, solve the problem by advising you not to proceed with a lawsuit or figure out a way to inexpensively get the job done.
I have been representing businesses and individuals for over 36 years as a practicing attorney in Minnesota (and to a lesser extent North Dakota).
I have practiced criminal law, civil law, family law, Wills and Estate Planning, and have handled just a wide variety of legal matters from multimillion-dollar lawsuits in federal court to $500 debt collection cases in conciliation court. I have helped people with getting rid of their timeshares, settling lawsuits, resolving problems with neighbors, associations and just all kinds of legal problems. Common sense usually works! Effective communication is key too. A strategy is needed some of the time. In some cases, you have to be very aggressive and bring the lawsuit all the way to Court and in other cases, you want to just let the case slowly, slowly move thru the legal system in the hopes the other side will eventually cave in. Sometimes it just takes a good mediator to help settle the case.
Often the problem is not the legal issues or the law but it may have to do with someone not having any money, needing advice on a domestic issue, or someone simply not understanding what in the heck is going to happen to them.
A person could get charged with a felony for drug possession with intent to sell. They may be looking at a five-year prison term. But it could be that in that jurisdiction if you have a clean record that you will get no jail time. But some lawyers will charge $5000 and not tell the poor person that the likelihood of prison is low!
Or for example, someone may owe you a large or small sum of money and maybe they just keep promising and promising to pay but never do! You might think it too expensive to hire a lawyer. What if all it took was for the lawyer to start a lawsuit. That might not be expensive at all. Maybe only a few hundred dollars or if complicated a few thousand dollars.
Maybe you need a Will but think it will cost way too much. A simple Will, along with a Power of Attorney and a Health Care Directive (also known as a living will) should only cost about $500 per person.