The value proposition as it relates to legal services has been on my mind for years. Does spending money save money? Will an attorney complicate a simple matter? Can someone do anything without calling an attorney first? My answers: (1) Often; (b) Sometimes, but less often then we get “credit” for; and (3) Of course, but if there’s any reason to think a dispute might arise, bring forth the old adage, “An ounce of prevention … !”

Rare is the matter which goes wrong and ends up in court. Almost as rare, are the lawsuits which could not have been avoided with good, front-end advice. Sometimes, people don’t want the advice, for they are about to engage in conduct which will surely result in a dispute. And sometimes, advice gets ignored. In plenty of instances, however, cost concerns—and the effort associated with finding and contacting an attorney—keep people from getting help up front.

Are there adequate substitutes? Not really. A document preparer cannot provide the expertise which most attorneys have, and should not be providing legal advice, although many do. Your neighbor, unless he or she happens to be an attorney, also lacks the requisite expertise. So, for that matter, do Ms. Google and her companion, Mr. Google!

Free Fridays represent my attempt to cut through the excuses for not obtaining front-end help. It also provides me with an opportunity to give back, a bit, for the legal profession has been very good to me.

So here’s how Free Fridays work. I am available on the last Friday of each month, during the afternoon (Tucson time), to answer relatively simple questions. I can be reached by phone or email. If the fact pattern which gives rise to the question is even a little bit complicated, an email with a brief explanation of the situation will be much appreciated. (I read faster than anyone can talk.)

At the outset I will ask about who’s involved in the matter, including the names of any attorneys. I’m asking for conflict of interest purposes. If you don’t want to share names, please don’t contact me.

If you contact me you are not committing yourself in any way. Neither am I. That said, once we start talking an attorney-client relationship does exist, for purposes of confidentiality and conflicts of interest. If a conflict of interest already exists, I will not be available, and if the question goes beyond my expertise, I will not provide an answer, except to say “I don’t know.”

I look forward to hearing from you!