Why You Are Reluctant to Obtain the Legal Assistance You Require
Many people would benefit from legal support about once a year. Unfortunately, many people do not seek legal guidance when these situations occur.
In 2001-2002 the American Bar Association commissioned a study on the public perceptions of lawyers to be conducted by Leo J. Shapior & Associates. This study had some interesting conclusions that can help us grasp the reasons for the reluctance of the typical person to obtain legal assistance.
The survey established that most Americans think lawyers are capable of navigating through the complex legal system and most of those who had experience with lawyers were pleased with the service they received. Nonetheless, many Americans also think lawyers can be materialistic, even corrupt. Americans do not feel at ease with the connections lawyers have with politicians, the courts, and big business. They also think that the practice of law is not self policing.
Most Americans feel reluctant to use lawyers because they think they cannot tell a high-quality lawyer from a poor one. And, most people are uncertain about precisely what a lawyer can do for them or how much that service will cost.
Because of these views and suspicions lots of people who would benefit from a lawyer don’t contact one. The Shapior research found that about 70% of households in any given year experience a circumstance for which contact with a lawyer would be beneficial. However, most people indicated they still wouldn’t make use of a lawyer.
Compare this to visiting your family general practitioner. If you have health insurance, as soon as you or your children become ill you do not think twice about seeing your medical doctor. If you have several children, you might visit your doctor’s office 5 or 10 times in a single year. You are comfortable with your doctor, the office, and possibly even members of the nursing staff. You’ve watched your doctor work with your children and recognize the consideration that he or she has for you and your family’s health.
Contrast your visits to your doctor with meeting with a lawyer. You likely never visited a lawyer’s office. Perhaps you’ve searched through the Yellow Pages and still don’t have the slightest idea which lawyer would be best for you. Plus, to top it off, you do not possess legal insurance that will pay for a lot of of the cost of your office visit. No wonder you are hesitant to make use of a lawyer.
It seems clear that the common person is unfamiliar with individual lawyers. Watching Boston Legal, Law and Order or reruns of LA Law or Perry Mason is not going to encourage the average person to visit a lawyer even when they could benefit from their help. Perhaps the best tool to get someone into a law office is legal insurance. By becoming familiar with a lawyer in minor situations, a person can have a greater degree of comfort about contacting a lawyer for more important situations.
You could already have a legal plan offered as a benefit from your employer. If not, there are numerous providers that offer prepaid legal plans.
Prepaid legal plans typically cover the costs for you to consult with your lawyer by phone any time you have a potential legal situation arise. In addition, you can typically visit your lawyer to have a will drawn up, or modifications to your will on an annual basis. You may in addition have your lawyer review legal forms you need to sign to make sure that everything is in order.
When you do need extensive legal support, your plan may provide for a number of hours of your lawyer’s time for pre-trial and trial activities. Beyond the time provided by your plan, you will normally receive further support at a discount.
If a year goes by and you don’t need legal support you can judge yourself fortunate. One day, similar to fire insurance on your house, your prepaid legal plan may come in very handy.