Nobody really wants to hire a lawyer. If you have to it usually means that something bad has happened or you are planning for something bad such as drawing up a will. We are necessary evils that help people, but I don’t blame you for never having wanted to work with an attorney.
The problem is that if you avoid us like the plague when you really need us, it can create a lot of problems for you or even prevent you from having the ability to get representation.
For example, in most Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits, you have two years from the date you should have known malpractice might have occurred to file a case (sometimes it’s longer, sometimes it’s shorter, but most have this time limit). The problem is that on average it takes a law firm 4-6 months to investigate a case and determine if the possibility of a case even exists. All of the medical records need to be reviewed, the client needs to be interviewed, multiple medical doctors need to be consulted with, etc. So if you seek out representation one week or even one month before your deadline, most firms will take a pass because they can’t drop everything to see if you have a case.
The point is that we understand that you may be grieving or physically hurting. Someone in your family needs to take the lead and seek out legal help. Failing to do so could literally mean that a doctor gets away with murder.
Even on cases that don’t have time limits like a retail theft charge, I’m surprised at how many people call me the night before the case or even the morning of to get someone to defend them. It’s not impossible to find that help and one of the benefits of our service is that we know which lawyers regularly appear in specific court locations, so often they are going to be there any way. But by calling at the last minute you do risk that the best choice for you won’t be available and you really give them no time to prepare. It’s possible your case can get continued, but at the same time you may lose out on an opportunity to get the charges thrown out altogether.
Most people that do this either think that can’t afford it or don’t want to deal with it. I get that and certainly don’t blame you in any way for thinking that way. But I can’t encourage you enough to get help sooner rather than later, even if that help is not through us. Otherwise you really risk causing long term harm to your case that you won’t be able to recover from.
Written by Michael Helfand