I often hear from friends that they would love to have a lawyer review a contract for them, or advise them on some issue, but they can’t afford it. I often retort that they may not be able to afford not to hire an attorney. I am not being flip when I say this, because it is my experience that many of those people end up calling me after they’ve already suffered the consequences of their decision to forgo legal representation. However, this does little to address the underlying problem. That is, that many cannot afford the typical fees charged by attorneys.
One of the reasons for this is because, until recently, the rules of professional responsibility have commanded that attorneys take over their client’s case or matter once representation has commenced. Changes to the rules governing legal practice now allow attorneys to assess a client’s ability to handle their own affairs and to work as a sort of guide through the legal process. This new way of practicing law can significantly lower the costs associated with legal representation. I for one, am excited about the implications of these changes, as they truly represent a revolution in legal practice by ushering in the era of Law For the Rest of Us.