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How a Lawyer can Help

Many people often wonder how exactly an attorney can help them in their specific situation. It’s a fair question, because an attorney isn’t quite like a mechanic or a doctor. Litigation is unpredictable, and the randomness that’s inherent in court (largely due to the human element) means people rarely have the opportunity to say, “I had legal problem X, I hired an attorney, and my problem X resolved into outcome Y rather than Z.”

So, here’s one example—what I hope to make the first in a series—of how I was able to help a regular person, just like you and me, with her legal problem.

My client was a tenant facing eviction from an apartment she was ready to leave anyway. She was dissatisfied with the unit and believed the landlord had breached her own end of the contract--the agreement to provide a habitable apartment. The tenant had her things packed, ready to go. The landlord was upset that the tenant hadn’t paid the last month’s rent, and wanted the court to set a lock-out date, order the tenant to move out, and order the payment of the last month's rent (plus interests, costs, and all the other things landlords usually ask for).

Also of note, my client had a lawyer—me—while the landlord was proceeding in propria persona, without an attorney.

Long story short, the complaint was defective on its face. The complaint alleged that the landlord had served the wrong kind of notice! I pointed this out to the court as my opening argument. Under questioning by the judge, the landlord admitted that she had never served the correct, required notice.

The landlord had a lot more to say, but since the complaint was fatally defective, the judge didn’t even hear it. Case dismissed.

For someone without legal training and experience, it can be difficult, perhaps almost impossible, to spot problems like the above. For a lawyer, it’s another day at the office. Simply put, having a good attorney with you when you go into court means peace of mind. It means that the other side isn’t going to get one over on you.

It means the ability to make sure your legal rights are protected—and isn’t that the entire reason for going to court in the first place?

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