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Choosing Between a Lawyer and Legal Counsel

Consideration was given for the editing and publication of this post.

Let’s say that you’ve been involved in an accident and consider filing a personal injury claim. However, you are not entirely sure that you have enough evidence to build a case, for once, or that you’ll win it if you go to court or try to settle.

In this scenario, you’ll probably have to choose between employing a lawyer or be given counsel by a legal advisor. Both can be of help to you – but only one of them will be able to help you win a case in a court of law, for example.

On the other hand, only one of them can tell you that you shouldn’t pursue a case – and for less money than the other. But, since decisions can’t be made with this little information, let’s take a closer look at the differences between a lawyer and legal counsel.

Specialist Lawyers

A lawyer is usually employed by a firm and specializes in a practice area throughout their career. It is very unlikely that you’ll meet generalist lawyers that can help you fight a case in the court of law – especially if your case is a bit complicated.

For example, if you want to file a personal injury claim, then you can ask a legal counsel for help with the paperwork and other minor things. However, if you are about to settle or take your case in court, then you will need a personal injury attorney, working for a reputable firm, and with a couple of cases under his belt.

Legal Counselors

As mentioned above, legal counselors are also known as generalist lawyers. They know a moderate number of things about various areas of law – without specializing in any particular area.

On top of that, they are also not usually employed by a firm and work in-house, in their own office or home. They are the kind of people that you go to for advice concerning your legal matters.

They will take the time to explain your case or your claim to you and then advise you on how you should move forward – either drop the claim or hire a specialist lawyer.

Lawyer vs. Legal Counsel

So, how do you choose between a lawyer and legal counsel? Well, it depends on what you need and on the issues that you have to deal with.

Therefore, you will choose legal counsel when:

  • You have general inquiries about your problem.

  • Need advice and opinions rather than start taking legal action.

  • Need more information about the type of case/claim you are about to file.

  • You are looking for general information regarding certain areas of law.

  • For example, legal counsel can listen to your problem and then recommend you to a competent specialist lawyer. You may think that you need a personal injury lawyer, but a legal counsel might make you understand why you need another type of lawyer.

On the other hand, you will go straight to a specialist lawyer when:

  • You know exactly what your claim or case is about.

  • You have a basic knowledge of law and how a case works.

  • You are sure that you want to sue and either settle or fight in the court of law.

  • You don’t need any more general information on the issue, case, or claim that you have. 

The Bottom Line

In short, legal counsel can help you better understand your situation and then choose the proper lawyer for your circumstances. You will contact a specialist lawyer when you already know things that a legal counselor may provide you with!

Usually, a legal counselor has a wide pool of acquaintances, which can be very helpful when you are looking for a specialist lawyer. This is why a lot of people look for counsel first and then for a lawyer.

However, if you know a good, reputable lawyer, then you can save some money by contacting them first!

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