Please Don’t Apologize For Calling a Lawyer

February 12, 2016   |   Ann Ochsner

If I had a dollar for every time I heard the phrase, “I’m not the kind of person who likes to sue people,” or something close to that, I could pay off my mortgage sooner than scheduled.  The context in which I typically hear this phrase is during a phone call from someone who is calling our office for the first time.  For whatever reason, the caller feels the need to distinguish himself from the mythical group of people that are thought to be litigious or looking to “scam the system.”  The effort to establish the legitimacy of the reason that lead the caller to pick up the phone and call a lawyer ends up sounding like an apology, or at least it does to me.  I find this to be a curious phenomenon because, in my experience and generally speaking, people call a lawyer for one of three reasons: 1) they need information about a particular situation; 2) the situation is more complex than they can handle on their own; or 3) they are being treated unfairly.  Each of these reasons is legitimate.  So, please don’t apologize for calling a lawyer.

Our system of laws bestows upon everyone – and I mean everyone – certain legal rights.  These rights arise in a wide variety of situations and typically involve interactions between people (for example, as in the case of divorce), between people and businesses (for instance, a person injured on the job), or between people and the government (perhaps a person seeking social security disability compensation).  For the vast majority of people these circumstances are something that they have never experienced before.  Because of that, people find themselves involved in a process that is completely foreign to them and governed by rules that are often complex and difficult to discover.  By analogy, it would be like placing me on an ice rink to play a game of hockey; since I do not know the rules of the game or the function of various team members, I will probably not be successful.  I might be able to learn as I go, but the beginning is going to be extremely tough and I will probably miss some important plays.  The better thing for me to do is to learn the rules of the game or, better still, let someone who knows the rules and how to play the game play for me.

Lawyers are trained to be well-versed in the rules that apply to their area of specialty.  For this reason it makes perfect sense that when confronted with a situation that is completely foreign or overwhelming that you should call the person who can explain it to you, provide guidance, or represent you.  Personally, I view part of my role as a lawyer to be that of a teacher.  I want my clients and the members of the public with whom I come into contact to understand the issues involved with their situation so that they can make informed decisions that are in their best interest.  I do not know of a lawyer who disagrees with this position.  So, it is my hope that you never have to call me or another lawyer.  But I also understand that in the course of human affairs it is sometimes necessary to do so.  So, if you find yourself in a situation where you need to a lawyer, pick up the phone and call a lawyer to get the information or advice that need.  And when you do, please don’t apologize.


Blog Author Ann Ochsner practices law at the Whitley Law Firm. When you have been injured, there are laws that protect your rights and interests. The Whitley Law Firm in North Carolina has a great respect and concern for the law, for the concepts of fairness and justice, and for their seriously injured clients.  They have offices in Charlotte, Raleigh, New Bern, Jacksonville, Kinston, and Greenville and represent clients throughout the entire state in all types of civil matters, including personal injury cases (auto accidents, slip and fall injuries, motorcycle accidents, dog bites), workers’ compensation matters (workplace accidents and injuries) and social security cases. For more information, visit or call 1-800-598-0456.