Five times in Life When You May Need a Good Lawyer
By The Editors

Yeah, you know you’ll need one for that DUI arrest and your divorce. But you may not be thinking about lawyers the way you should. Here’s a grown-up’s guide to legal help.

Five times in Life When You May Need a Good Lawyer


Which is better? A lawyer for each of the five times you get in trouble...

Or five lawyers for that one stupid time you sent your life to hell? Either way, here's what you need to know.

A good man should need very few lawyers in life.

If you agree this is true, then the inverse must also be true:

May the true measure of a man is how many lawyers he’s hired.

Career criminals and the incurably litigious aside, a good lawyer also fits that maxim about needing a gun and not having one.

When you need a good lawyer, you really need one.

But when should you look?

Ideally, before any of the following five things happen:

  1. Your next big trip away from home to a foreign land. 

Maybe you’re 18 and headed for Europe solo. Maybe you’re 21 and headed to Jamaica for spring break. Maybe you’re 45 and finally taking that big multi-country trek you’ve always promised yourself. Or maybe it’s your college-age kid who’s breaking away for awhile or just taking off for a semester abroad. Well, along with all the medical and passport-related hoop-jumping you’ll do, consult a lawyer who understands how to help Americans abroad trying to say “I want my lawyer” in a foreign language. He may have nothing to offer today, but you and your family homebodies will have the relationship – and contact information – just in case. Because, hey, you just never know when the shit might hit the fan, especially if you drank the tap water. 

2. Marriage.

Yes, there are all manner of legal things afoot when you tie the knot. But, like your marriage, this is about starting a long-term relationship with a lawyer who can help you in so many ways as the years go by. Fenceline disputes. Dog bites. And yes, maybe even divorce. This lawyer is the lawyer people refer to when they say, “I’ll talk to my lawyer.”

3. Your first deliberate bad choice. 

Could be you just have a business trip indiscretion, or five. Maybe you earn a few grand a year on the sly. Maybe you just have a habit of getting behind the wheel every Friday night after happy hour. If you do these things regularly – and we’re not judging – your odds of needing a lawyer someday go up. Way up. You may not be a Boy Scout but you should be prepared.

4. Fatherhood. 

Having a kid is willfully – if not joyfully – wading into the realm of tax and estate law. When the gal tells you she’s knocked up, get on the horn and do that thing known as “getting your affairs in order.”

5. Your first big score.

Maybe your business finds a higher gear. Maybe it’s an inheritance. Maybe the Bills won the Super Bowl and your Powerball numbers hit the same week. Whatever the windfall, consult with an attorney about how to best keep the money in your own hands. Or at least in your own wallet.