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N. Bob Pesall, Attorney At Law
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PESALL LAW FIRM
809 West Pipestone Ave.
West End Plaza, Ste. 11
P.O. Box 23
Flandreau, SD  57028
Tel:  (605)573-0274
Fax: (605)573-0275
firm@pesall.com

Should I hire a lawyer? Eight signs that you may need a lawyer.

You have a decision to make. Some legal problem is troubling you enough that you're out “surfing the internet” looking for a lawyer. By this point, the chances are you need one. But how do you tell for sure? There is no hard and fast rule, but there are a number of signs to look for.

  1. Does your problem involve the Courts or law enforcement? If it does, a lawyer can help you. Some simple encounters like traffic stops or small claims court actions may not require the assistance of a lawyer. On the other hand, if a routine traffic stop turns into an arrest, or if that small claims action suddenly winds up in Circuit Court, your need for a lawyer can increase dramatically. If you have been charged with a crime that is a felony or misdemeanor, a lawyer can almost always help you.

  2. Does your problem involve a very important transaction? If you are buying or selling a business, or entering into a long-term contract, you may benefit greatly by consulting a lawyer. With large or complex transactions, a lawyer can help you avoid the common pitfalls and protect your interests. Often, a few hours of your lawyer's time now can also avoid far greater risk down the road. Conversely, if your transaction is relatively minor or common place, such as the purchase of an automobile or the sale of your antique collection, you probably do not need a lawyer.

  3. Does your problem involve real estate? For simple home purchases, most people do not require the assistance of a lawyer during negotiations or when drafting their purchase and sale agreements. A lawyer will often be employed to act as a closing agent however, and may be responsible for making sure the documents are properly recorded. For more complex transactions, or when people disagree as to exactly who owns a certain piece of real estate, a lawyer can be very useful. Often, the documents that govern who owns a given piece of land can complicated, poorly written, and many years old. If you are faced with this situation, a lawyer can help you sort through all of this paperwork and get a clear determination of what your rights are.

  4. Does your problem involve your employer or employees? If you or your business has employees, you already know how complicated life can get. Employers have to consider taxes and social security contributions, benefits, workers compensation costs, and a host of other issues. Many of these can be handled with “generic” agreements, tax forms, and a little help from your accountant. They often do not require the assistance of a lawyer. On the other hand, if your business has concerns outside of the usual payroll and taxes arena, a lawyer may be necessary. Businesses which need to protect confidential information or require noncompetition agreements, for example, would benefit from having a lawyer assist them. Agreements like these can protect your business, but often require very careful drafting and must be specially tuned to your unique circumstances. Likewise, if you are an employee, your employer often has certain obligations to you, such as providing a safe workplace, fair wages, and certain employee benefits. If you feel your employer is not meeting these obligations, a lawyer may be able to help you.

  5. Have you been injured by someone else? Personal injury law is the subject of a lot of bad jokes, but to those people who really do get hurt, their injuries are no laughing matter. If you've been injured, suffered medical expenses, lost work, gotten sick, or otherwise been harmed because another person was careless, a lawyer can often help you recover reasonable compensation. Even if the person responsible has insurance, it can be difficult to recover these losses. Fortunately, because of the nature of these cases, your lawyer can often pursue them on a contingent fee. With a contingent fee, your lawyer does not get paid until you recover on your claim.

  6. Does your problem involve family members? While most family disputes lie far outside the legal realm, sometimes a lawyer becomes necessary. When issues such as divorce, child custody, guardianship, or child support come up, a lawyer can help you make sure your rights are protected.

  7. Does your problem involve a government agency? Big, complex, government bureaucracy seems to be a fact of modern life. Most of the time, when we have to deal with government agencies, the only thing we need is patience. After all, government workers don't make the rules, they just help carry them out. On the other hand, some times the system just does not work like it should. Perhaps you're having trouble getting adequate compensation for a workplace injury. Perhaps you're having trouble with getting a license, or assessing your property for tax purposes. In cases like these, a lawyer can often help you get the wheels turning again.

  8. Do you need a will, trust, estate plan, or power of attorney? For almost any will, trust, estate plan, or power of attorney, it is a good idea to enlist the aid of a lawyer and make sure things get done right. For documents like these, there is little room for error. A lawyer can help you make sure that people you trust will be able to handle your affairs if you are incapacitated. A lawyer can also help you make sure your wishes are carried out regarding such personal decisions as life support or medical treatment. If you have assets you wish to pass on to future generations, or want to establish a trust to benefit yourself, your family, or your favorite cause, a lawyer can help you with that too.


In many situations, having a good lawyer can mean the difference between getting what you need, and getting frustrated. If you decide you need a lawyer, or if you are not sure, contact the Pesall Law Firm. Even if we cannot help you with your particular case, we may be able to find you someone who can.

 
Bar Admissions:

South Dakota State Court

South Dakota Federal District Court

North Dakota State Court

North Dakota Federal District Court

Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribal Court