In movies or on TV people like to say, “I will call my lawyer.” Or, “You will hear from my lawyer!” In some cases, you see that lawyer handling all sorts of legal situations for their friend/client. That of course is not real life.

In real life, I talk to many people who want to have access to an attorney in case something should come up. At least once a month I get a call from someone with no pressing legal need who wants to have a lawyer “just in case the need arises.”

The reality is that life is not like TV or the movies and especially in a bigger city like Chicago that has over 30,000 attorneys, there is almost never a need to have a lawyer on retainer.

The reason I say that is if you need a lawyer, you want the best one for your situation. If you think you might get arrested or the police want to talk to you, you need a criminal defense attorney. But even then the best one depends on what the charges will be, which courthouse you will go to and the timing. If you are a business, you probably want a different lawyer if you are sued for a wage claim than if you are sued by a customer over product disputes.

In real life, in almost any case, you can get a good lawyer when your problem arises instead of paying money out of your pocket in case something comes up.  It’s one reason I’m against the concept of pre-paid legal plans.  I’d bet I’ve had more than 1,000 calls from their clients who go to one of the “plan attorneys” for help when a legal situation came up only to discover that attorney isn’t the right fit for the problem.

A big part of this is that in most cases, while having a pressing legal matter can be a stressor to you, the legal system takes time which affords you time.  If your spouse files for divorce, you most likely won’t be due in court for 30 days, and in most cases, nothing of substance will happen on that first court date. If your company is sued it will likely even be longer before you have to show up in court and many months before anything of substance takes place. Even in criminal cases, if the police want to talk to you, you can almost always tell them that you want a lawyer and then go search for one.

So do yourself a favor and don’t make legal decisions based on what you see in the movies. And if you feel an urgent need to talk to a lawyer, you can call us for free and in confidence any time at 312-346-5320.