Resources for great legal help are plentiful online and in the Memphis phone book. It’s simply a matter of looking around and taking the time to ask questions and evaluate the best course for you to take from a range of choices. Memphis is a large city and has an abundant supply of legal resources.
If you’re going online there are some wonderful services totally free to use. While most have a disclaimer that they are not giving legal advice per se but only providing information to the consumer it may save some time and lots of money to begin your search with some free services. I have looked at quite a few of these online sites and have a few favorites based on the largest variety of services they offer and how well their sites are set up to serve the local Memphis consumer. Though these sites can be useful for anywhere in the country, I think it’s crucial to first educate yourself with them and then pursue the local firms if your case is worth quite a bit of money and has a good chance of being won.
http://freeadvice.com is one of my favorites. You can post your case and have it reviewed by up to 5 qualified attorneys. I would always begin at this site because sometimes you may think you have a case only to find that it would be more costly to pursue than it is worth. A good attorney will not want to waste his or your time if your case is not going to bring him in money by representing you. The site is very easy to navigate as well. It has a link for downloading forms so that you can file them with the proper venues in your state. There are category links that you can click as well so that you can learn more about your specific type of problem and it is quite a teaching tool as well. The categories cover almost every type of legal problem imaginable, including criminal offenses. Just using a site like this by itself will allow a person to be armed with some basic knowledge of how the law functions or will function as pertinent to his/her specific case. The company is quoted as saying “FreeAdvice.com seeks to provide the most useful, easy-to-understand, comprehensive and balanced legal information to consumers and small businesses, and to help people and businesses find answers to their legal questions and solutions to their legal problems.”
Another site I have used and that is a bit different is www.legalzoom.com. This site will save you a bundle on filing papers and forms for your business, incorporation, etc. It is very user-friendly and is staffed by experts in their fields. Memphis entrepreneurs who simply want to form a corporation or an LLC for their local businesses will find this site immensely helpful. You simply fill in a questionnaire and you will be taken to the appropriate help with your need. In addition, they offer a toll-free help line in case you need clarification on some matter or don’t understand something. Note that they call themselves the best legal documentation site online and that they can save you up to 85% in fees that you would incur by going to a lawyer directly. They will even file for you at the appropriate state agency for your Memphis locale.
If you are in a low-income category the paramount place to begin looking for legal help is Memphis Area Legal Services. They do pro-bono work and should be able to help you with your situation. It is located in downtown Memphis, 109 North Main Street. The phone number is 901-523-8822 and their website is http://www.malsi.org. You will also be able to get free legal help from your local bar association which has or should have lawyers available to assist low-income people. Just look up the bar association phone number in the phone book and give them a call or go online and look at their site:
http://www.memphisbar.org. This site will also offer you a link to firms that do pro bono work and another that lists Memphis Bar Association member firms. You can search for a member firm from the more than 2,200 member firms and find a lawyer specifically suited for your type of problem. If you are willing to pay a good local lawyer and are not needing legal aid, then you can find Memphis firms that are accredited and that have competent lawyers to represent you. From there you will have access to the information on the member firms. You can also find more information at the following link: http://www.findlaw.com/14firms/legalaid.html. The first few links in this site will give you some general information about contacting an attorney who will work pro bono or services that will represent you with very reduced fees. You can click on the state of TN and look for information on Memphis specifically.
Sometimes you may be able to get advice from a friend or family member. Though this might be a place to start, it is wise not to make a decision on what is appropriate for you to do based on the experience of someone else who might have had good representation regarding a totally different case.
I would strongly suggest that if you simply put in a google search for Memphis law firms to realize one thing. These firms pay big money sometimes to have their sites listed and that what you may be seeing is some very large firms with some very deep pockets and not necessarily the most competent or hard-working lawyers who are the best at what they do. People can sometimes panic when they get into difficulties but it’s important to try to remain calm and do some specific research online and to make some calls to your local bar association before you commit to working with any lawyer. It’s your life and your case that’s on the line.