I just got off of a call with a lawyer. I hired him. The relief is overwhelming.
Okay, so technically, I just got off of an internet video call with a lawyer, but the feeling of relief is real and powerful.
So why would a lawyer hire a lawyer? Because it’s not the type of law I practice, or even in the part of the world that I practice.
I have a daughter that is an International student. She needs to have the proper permit to attend school in the country that she is going to, and in order to obtain the permit, you have to deal with the people that grant or deny those types of permits in the country that she is going to.
So, there we are, my daughter, my wife, and me all sitting around anxiously waiting for the computer to ring. Then, just like that, we are on a video chat bright and early this morning with an attorney that is halfway around the World.
He introduces himself, we say “hi,” and we start discussing the issues. It all has to do with timing and knowing the right “buttons to push.”
But wait! We have the internet, we have friends that have done something similar before, we have common sense. Why not just save some money and figure it out ourselves?
Because over the 34 years that I have been involved in the law, I have seen far too often what happens when people do that. In fact, later today, I’m going to talk to a young man that tried to “figure it out” himself and is now in a mess.
There used to be a Judge here in town that would tell people, “You may think, ‘I can do this myself. I don’t need a lawyer.’…well if you do that, it’s like trying to operate on yourself. You may just find that you are in the middle of the operation, with blood everywhere, and can’t figure out how to get out of it safely.”
I’ve always said it differently. I’ve always told people that one of the great things about our system is that you are not “required” to hire a lawyer. You can try to represent yourself. But, as I’ve also always said, “I can probably try to figure out how to do the taxes for my law firm, but I don’t want to try to learn. I’d rather hire a CPA.” And I do.
Learning curves hurt.
And when you’re dealing with things like your children, your house, your 401K, your bank accounts, and everything you own, do you want to figure it out yourself, or do you want to talk to someone that already knows the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, the Texas Rules of Evidence, the Texas Family Code, and the Local Rules of Court – to name a few things – and has years of experience?
One truth I have found is this: There is saving money on the front end and saving money on the back end.
I can save money by not taking my car to a mechanic and trying to figure things out myself – and I can end up stuck on the side of the road with worse problems than I had and added bills to tow the car to the shop, get a ride home, and fix what I didn’t do properly when I tried to do it myself.
Saving money on an attorney may seem like a good idea unless it leads to the loss of money in your retirement account or time with your children or rights with respect to your house.
The lawyer in Europe told us this morning – “you can try to deal with the immigration people yourself” – that’s the honesty that you want in an attorney.
Luckily, I have the 34 years of experience that tells me that the correct response in our situation is, “No, I’d rather pay you to do that for us.” He is now our lawyer, and I couldn’t be happier about the decision.