One of the things that really increases uncertainty for women when they’re dealing with a legal issue is all the opinions that they hear from everyone – everyone seems to have an opinion about what someone else should be doing!
If women share that they have a problem, there are so many people ready to weigh in and give advice (when realistically they don’t have the place to be giving legal advice).
Step 1. Get your hands on relevant, free information
Finding relevant legal information that you need, in a timely manner, can be quite difficult on your own.
The organisation of legal information online, and how Google displays relevant, does not work if you try searching yourself.
So where should you start?
The is a great free resource, with a lot of easy-to-read information over lots of topics, and plenty of links to further information. This is mainly Victorian based. This is published by the Fitzroy Legal Centre.
There are lots of other Community Legal Centres, so find your closest one, or the Women’s Community Legal Centre in your State. They often offer a free appointment which can point you in the right direction.
There are many alternative ways to solve your legal problem than using a lawyer and going to Court. But if you need a lawyer, finding the right one can save you a lot of time and money.
Step 2. Find the right lawyer for you
One of the fears that women have when they face a legal problem, is that they think that a lawyer is just going to inflate the problem. Yes, there are some solicitors out there who will do that, but there are others who won’t.
There are solicitors that will work with you, and it’s about finding and hiring the right one.
Here are the steps to finding the right lawyer for you:
- figure out what kind of issue you have
- search for a lawyer by the kind of issue you have
- make a short-list and research each lawyer on your short-list
- investigate how each lawyer charges
Once you have found your preferred lawyer it is important to try before you buy – send an email and meet with them to see how responsive they are and if they are the right fit. Remember, it is important to trust your gut, and if it doesn’t feel or sound right, then just move on.
Step 3. Be careful who you listen to
If it’s your legal problem, try to have some boundaries around people weighing in on what you should and shouldn’t do. That’s difficult to resist, because you’re uncertain any way, but by listening to everyone under the sun it’s just going to make it more confusing for you.
Once you have a trusted support team around you, and you’ve found your lawyer, then when people do come to you with suggestions and opinions about what you should be doing, you have your lawyer and trusted support team to talk to about it.
As well as being the CEO of Legally Wise Women, Jacqui Brauman created her firm TBA Law in 2012, providing legal services to families in Melbourne and Regional Victoria, focusing on estate planning, family law and property.
Jacqui is an Accredited Specialist, and an award winning lawyer. She is an NMAS mediator, a collaboratively trained dispute resolution practitioner, and she has written and published four books, with the fifth forthcoming book with the same title as her podcast, IQ Meets EQ. The podcast primarily interviews women about the importance of whole brain thinking in success, business and leadership.