Oftentimes, people are not sure what kind of legal problem they have or what kind of attorney they need. A general practice attorney is typically well-versed in many areas of law and can be helpful for people and businesses that may require assistance in determining what kind of legal issue or problem they have and what can or needs to be done.
Not all legal matters involve just one area of practice. A general practice lawyer is experienced in handling a variety of legal issues that involve a wide range of matters. For instance, if you’ve experienced the wrongful death of a loved one or family member, you may wish to file a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court. However, you may also need assistance with sorting out the property and debts of the person who has died, and that same attorney may be able to help you with the necessary probate work. Sometimes, a client can have a valid legal claim against another person, but there may be non-legal reasons why other courses of action are more appropriate. A general practice attorney, particularly one with whom the individual or business has a preexisting and ongoing relationship with can be better able to both consider and help the client answer this question.
The general practice attorney can also be very suitable in assisting an individual or business with a variety of legal matters on an ongoing basis. If you have a general practice lawyer, you’ll also have the added benefit of being able to develop a long-term relationship with a legal professional who understands your individual or business priorities, values and needs.
When a general practice attorney does not have the education, training or experience needed to handle a particular matter, they may help you find a specialist attorney who can. Many attorneys, who do not identify themselves as engaging in the general practice of law, may focus or even specialize in one or two areas of law, but are able to help in others. Some attorneys form law practice groups, whether a partnership or less formal association, that enable them to offer a wide range of services.
The relationship between an individual and an attorney depends on the client having trust and confidence in the attorney. When the individual seeks out a new and different attorney for each problem or legal need, the time, and related expense, of developing trust and confidence is a necessary and unavoidable part of the process. When this relationship already exists and the attorney has a broader and ongoing relationship with the client, the trust and confidence already exist and the individual benefits.
Large businesses often have full-time in-house general counsel who oversee and manage the legal issues and needs of the business. Smaller businesses often have ongoing outside legal counsel on retainer, available and committed to prompt respond to the client’s needs. General practice attorneys often fill this role for businesses and this relationship can sometimes include serving the personal legal needs of the business owner.