Your Legal Journey
Navigate using the steps below
Why you need a lawyer
Similar to how illnesses often necessitate the treatment of a doctor, legal issues often require the expertise and guidance of an attorney. Like medicine, law is complex, specialized and constantly evolving. Understanding laws, as well as legal systems and processes, not only takes years of studying and an advanced degree. It requires continuing education to ensure that attorneys are aware of new laws and stay abreast of changes to existing laws.
Although the increasing availability of legal services on the internet has made it easier to access basic legal information, these services are no substitute for the expert advice of a licensed, local attorney. Typically, online legal services offer only national perspectives, whereas local attorneys are able to provide clients with market-specific, regional insight and the personalized guidance needed to resolve a particular legal issue.
Legal representation in matters involving criminal law is especially important. A criminal record can haunt you for the rest of your life, limiting employment and professional licensing opportunities, housing and residency, public benefits, education, business opportunities, motor vehicle licensing and registration, personal relationships and more. Needless to say, self representation—or even representation by a court-appointed attorney—may not be the best strategy. Consider these findings:
- A study of felony cases filed in Denver courts in 2002 showed that private defense lawyers achieved better sentence outcomes than public defenders. The study indicated that, on average, public defender clients were sentenced to three or more years of incarceration than private defense clients.
- The same study conceded that overworked public defenders may have less time and less economic incentive than private attorneys to evaluate cases accurately.
- While self-representation in criminal cases is sometimes allowable, if an individual is convicted, they cannot claim that incompetence as a lawyer denied effective assistance of counsel.
- Most people charged with a crime are too close emotionally to their own problems and cannot maintain the clear, level-headed thinking that is necessary in court.