Are you curious about how you can hire a lawyer without money? Before we begin, I want you to look at your budget. Do you not have $2000, or do you not want to spend $2000 on a law firm?
It’s important to differentiate between not having any money, and not wanting to spend money.
If you don’t have any money, are you able to borrow it? Would the banks or a friend or family member loan you money to deal with your legal problem?
According to Equifax, the average Canadian has $73,532 in debt. While most of this is mortgage debt, part of it is credit card debt.
Instead of spending money on eating out at restaurants, vacations, and subscriptions that you don’t use, why not deal with your legal issues?
In many cases, you can look at it as an investment. If you can borrow $10K as a loan, and you end up spending $2K in interest fees over the period of the legal dispute, your “investment” is $12K.
Let’s say someone owes you $50K in money, and you are going to hire a lawyer to file a lawsuit.
Let’s assume that your case is strong, that you win the lawsuit, and that the judge rules that the other side has to pay your legal costs. You spent $0 and got $50K.
Even if you don’t get your legal costs awarded, you are still up $38K. A good lawyer will be able to tell you if you have a good chance at winning your lawsuit before you invest.
Don’t be afraid of spending $350 for a one-hour consultation before deciding. You need to make the right decision.
But What If You Have No Money For A Law Firm?
There are “free lawyers” or “pro bono” lawyers out there, but it’s very hard to find. Most of the time, you will end up working with a law student that wants experience.
“If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.” – James Goldsmith
Becoming a lawyer is hard, and takes many years. A lawyer didn’t spend $150,000 on schooling and eight years of education just to work for free and become poor.
So what are your options?
Finding A Free Lawyer
In criminal law and family law, there are more resources for people that don’t have money. That’s because the government doesn’t want to see people go to jail, or lose custody of their children, just because they are poor.
Depending on your legal dispute, you can look for a “free lawyer” in the following places:
- Speak to duty counsel at the courthouse
- Apply for legal aid
- Ask a law school if any law students are available to assist
- Consider legal coaching (costs money, but less t)
Do not waste a lawyer’s time booking consultations when you have no plan to retain a lawyer. You are wasting their time, and damaging their business. That is wrong.
H ire a lawyer without money by using a duty counsel
Many courts will have a lawyer that is around to answer legal questions. Duty counsel will also sometimes step in for emergency hearings.
Keep in mind that you might need to spend the day waiting. If your time has value, you need to be aware that you are spending money by waiting around all day for duty counsel.
Apply For Legal Aid
If you are truly a low-income individual, this is your best chance at getting a free lawyer.
If you qualify, Legal Aid will pay your lawyer for you. The quality of the lawyer should be relatively good, but probably not the best.
Legal Aid lawyers often get paid much less than if they could bring in their own clients. If the lawyer can’t bring in clients, ask why.
Speak To A Law School
Some law schools will have special programs to give their law students experience. This can include the student going to court or writing reports. This can take many months because it’s a school project.
Legal coaching is when you pay a lawyer for their time, but they don’t represent you. You can prepare the court documents, and have a lawyer make improvements before you file them with the courts.
Hire a lawyer without money
If the other side is self-representing (doesn’t have a lawyer), you might be able to as well.
But if the other side has a lawyer, you are going to be at a massive disadvantage. Either hire a lawyer, settle, or abandon your case if you can.
It’s not that the other lawyer knows the law so much better than you (although they might.) It’s that the judge will trust what the lawyer says more than you.
Alistair Vigier is the CEO of ClearWay Law, a website that connects people with lawyers and attorneys for consultations.