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Free Lawyer – Is There Such a Thing?

free-lawyerYou ask around, probably search Google, you’re trying to find a free lawyer – well let me spoil the surprise – a free lawyer doesn’t really exist.

People have the tendency in life to try to obtain goods or services for free, and rightfully so, but a free lawyer is not something a person can find in ordinary circumstances.  Lawyers are ruthless, they will bill you for every minute.  You say to yourself, ‘I can get a free lawyer, my best friend is a lawyer, he will do it for free!’  Well, you might be right, but the odds are not in your favor.  Lawyers live and breathe off of referrals from friends and family.  In short, if your friend became your personal free lawyer, his other friends would want the same free lawyer services and he wouldn’t have a career.  It’s simple – a free lawyer is a broke lawyer.

I experienced this first-hand when all my friends graduated law school.  I thought I hit the jackpot…free lawyers to my left and free lawyers to my right! I thought I’d never have to pay for legal services ever again – boy was I wrong!  Sure, my friends were willing to charge me less than they would charge a random client, but rest assured I got charged, and I got charged a lot.  I had no idea what lawyers cost.

Over 90,000 people per month search on Google for a free lawyer but chances are, only a few actually find a free lawyer.  I say this because there are really only three types of people that can actually get a free lawyer –

  1. Someone who is extremely in-need (i.e. poor) and receives legal services as charity (these free lawyers call this kind of work ‘pro bono’)
  2. Someone who is assigned a free lawyer by the criminal courts (these free lawyers are called Public Defenders)
  3. Someone who’s close enough to a lawyer where the lawyer would feel extremely awkward denying free services to them.

Basically, unless you are a criminal, an extremely poor person who happens to get lucky, or your parent, spouse, or sibling is a lawyer, a free lawyer is probably not in the cards for you.

A lawyer might claim to be a free lawyer by telling you that you don’t pay a dime unless they win.  These kinds of “free lawyers” work on what is called contingency fee, and while it is accurate that you don’t pay unless they win, if they do win, you pay and you pay A LOT – sometimes as much as 45% of the total amount of the settlement or judgment.

While a true, free lawyer might be near-to-impossible to find, affordable lawyers are actually not as hard to find as you might think.  Search around. There are some new-age websites which compare lawyer’s prices or allow lawyers to bid on you (legal marketplaces). These services tend to make lawyer rates more competitive, and thus, cheaper.  So while a free lawyer might not be a possibility, legal services that are within your budget are almost a sure thing.