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How To Find Legal Help Without Spending An Arm & A Leg

Updated on December 8, 2009

The Library Is The Best Place To Start.

Don't have much money for a lawyer? You can consult with dozens of them for free by reading their books at the library.
Don't have much money for a lawyer? You can consult with dozens of them for free by reading their books at the library.

It is possible to find effective and affordable counsel.

When I used to be a Private Investigator, one of the most common questions I heard was, "Where can I get legal advice?"

Many people are worried that even calling a lawyer will cost them money! I won't lie to you, many lawyers charge a lot. The reasons why I won't go into, but rest assured, they all don't and what's more, there are other ways to resolve your disputes or get more information.

First off, make sure you need a lawyer. Do your best to resolve the dispute on your own. Usually this requires both parties having to swallow their pride and get over themselves! Sounds simple enough but it's true. The more pride you and your adversary express, the more expensive this conflict is going to get. An angry little manager with a vulgar sense of humor but who had his heart in the right place I swear, once gave me this delicious piece of advice. Are you ready for it, here it comes, don't forget this it's worth a million in legal advice: Kill em' with kindness. He didn't mean suffocate them with a stack of bibles. He meant put on your best face, take the high road, resolve the issue and look good doing it.

If that doesn't work, well shucks, lawyer up. In the book: American Bar Association Guide To Resolving Legal Disputes Inside And Outside The Courtroom Author Sheila Maloney writes:

"There are many ways to find a reliable lawyer. One of the best ways is to obtain a recommendation from a trusted friend, relative, or business associate. Be aware, however, that each legal case is different, and that a lawyer who is right for someone else may not necessarily be right for you or your legal problem." (on page 156 of the 2007 edition)

I highly recommend this book as a starting point. Maloney is the Author, but the entire book is balanced by various other seasoned attorneys from The American Bar Association. The book goes on to mention other ways such as community referral programs, bar association referrals (the legal kind not the drinking kind, although come to think of it, why not get a referral from the drinking kind), and they also mention going to the Yellow Pages and looking up "legal aid" for various other types of referrals. Then there's always various government agencies that you can go to as well, at your town hall, court house or community center.

I hope this helps. If you want my opinion, from a fella who has met hundreds of attorneys over the years, there is this to think about: Lawyers are very much, just like the rest of us. Some of them are heroes, some of them are zeros. Ultimately you have to decide with your gut and instinct if they are the right one for you. Do yourself a favor and try and make that decision as soon as you can, so that you don't end up paying a whopper-sized bill for mediocre council.

Let me repeat this one more time: Go to the library first! In a few hours, you will have digested hundreds of dollars of legal advice. Hope this helps, I really do. Now, go get 'em tiger!

Check out my other article, it might help you out in this department!!!


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    • Laura in Denver profile image

      Laura Deibel 

      11 years ago from Aurora, CO

      Before spending $ on an expensive attorney, it does help to do some research. If the matter can be handled out of court, that is best, of course.

      Small claims can offer a great alternative in simple cases, but has drawbacks, too. (See for some issues.)

      I suggest skipping the Yellow Pages when an attorney is needed, however. You can get reviews online in many cases that will tell you much more...

    • Ben Zoltak profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Zoltak 

      11 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      I should add however (after reading my response above!) that most attorneys are just doing their job, which is not an easy one. Their bad reputation stems from having to deal with everyone's problems. Very few people like lawyers, until they need one, then you want the best.

    • Ben Zoltak profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Zoltak 

      11 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks Niteriter, I know what you mean. Some of my relatives have ran into some pure evil counsel, and I met a couple myself. Fellas that would sell there Mothers for a buck! Thanks for the comment!

    • Niteriter profile image


      11 years ago from Canada

      I have only admiration for a guy who can find a way to seriously say something nice about lawyers!


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