Lawyers, like plumbers, seem abundant when you don't particularly need one. When a pipe breaks, or when a friend or relation is suddenly in jail, it can be hard to find the professional you need quickly. Lawyers are generally set up to take cases that have court dates months down the road, and often don't answer the phone after noon on a Friday anyway. This despite the fact that Friday evenings is the most popular time to get arrested.
In any event, emergency representation is one of the things we offer to people who need a lawyer right now, and don't have the time (or maybe the money) to retain one in the traditional fashion. An Emergency Representation package gets you 4 hours of legal work at a set rate, and during those four hours we'll do everything we can to help solve your problem. This is useful if someone is suddenly in jail, of course, since we can contact the jail to see about release, ascertain the charges, and sometimes even get a bail reduction hearing set before the retainer's up. Having no lawyer during the beginning stages of a criminal law case is extremely dangerous, because that's when people tend to lose their cases. A lawyer in this crucial period protects your rights, tries to get you out of jail, and can save your case.
But it's also a useful service in other fields, like family law. If your former spouse or partner files for temporary emergency custody, for example, getting 4 hours of legal help right now can make the resultant hearing much, much easier. In fact, if retained early enough, one of our lawyers can represent you at the initial hearing, sometimes resolving the case in hours instead of weeks. It's also extremely helpful to have an attorney to draft and present something like an application for a restraining order; we know how to convince the court to give you the protection you need.
If you can't afford an attorney's help generally, you will get the best value out of hiring an attorney for the very beginning of your case, when time matters and the court hasn't heard your story yet. A lot of law is a long, intense conversation about what happened in the first few hours of a case, or what happened at one crucial moment. Having an attorney for those hours and those moments can make all the difference in the world.