This is an ostrich with its head up, looking out into the horizon, rather than burying its head in the sand (although that’s just an optical illusion and they don’t really do that but you get the point). If you are served with a lawsuit or receive a letter from a lawyer or government entity, you want to be this ostrich and deal with issue head-on. I can understand the appeal of waiting as long as possible, whether it’s economics, time, or the philosophy that “ignorance is bliss.” But a legal issue is like cancer, the longer you wait to see a doctor, the worse the problem gets.
Here are 3 reasons why you should consult with an attorney sooner rather than later:
- Litigation deadlines are important. This is one of the areas in life where deadlines are taken seriously. Most judges aren’t like that professor you had in college who deducts half a grade or so if you turn in a late paper. Judges have no problem saying #SorryNotSorry when you miss a big deadline. This means that missing a deadline makes your problem more expensive. For example, you missed the deadline to respond to a lawsuit filed against you and the other side seeks a default judgment, you now have to go to the court to ask the court to set aside the default judgment so that you can get your chance to defend the lawsuit. So, instead of filing 1 response, you now have to file 2 documents, and you may still lose before you even got a chance to play the game.
- It takes time to prepare documents. Each document that your attorney files with the court serves as a pitch – an attempt to move the court in one direction or another. In your business, you wouldn’t submit a client proposal without putting thought and time into making your case to the client. The same is true with documents filed with the court. Waiting until days before your response is due to consult with an attorney is a recipe for disaster.
- Good lawyers are busy. Give yourself enough time to consult with a few attorneys to make sure that you would work well together. Give the lawyer enough time to understand your case and craft a strategy to best serve you. A good attorney has many other deadlines to meet, all of which take time complete. (See 2 above.)
Here is a list of 10 Business Events that Should Trigger a Call to Your Lawyer.
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