I have been privileged to write a monthly legal column for the Winston-Salem Journal for nearly 20 years. After writing 200-plus columns, and conducting a like number of legal talks for companies, non-profits, educational institutions, service organizations and bodies of faith, what do most citizens want and need to know about the law?
This: The best legal problems are the ones which never happen. To show citizens how they can often help themselves and avoid many legal problems. And to point citizens to attorney organizations and resources that try to provide to the public solid direction, often without charge or for a very modest expense for those in financial need.
1. General Legal Information.
- The North Carolina Bar Association Lawyer referral line. A citizen in North Carolina in any geographical area and concerning most any legal issue may receive a 30-minute conference with a knowledgeable attorney for no more than $50. (800-662-7660).
- The North Carolina Bar Association also has a number of other free or low-cost services. Legal Aid helpline of NC. (www.legalaidnc.org; 866-219-5262); NC Free Legal Answers. (www.freelegalanswers.org); and NC Lawyers for Entrepreneurs Assistance Program. (www.nc-leap.org.
- What do you get for free or next-to-free from an attorney? Actually, a lot. Knowledge of the law in a free society is great power. Take advantage of these useful services the North Carolina Bar Association and other non-profits provide, especially for those with limited financial means.
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2. Home Construction Projects.
- Home construction projects go better if you have a solid contractor and a solid contract. Many calls and emails I get concern these legal and practical issues. A good and ethical contractor avoids many issues. Contact the Home Builders Association of Winston-Salem and see what it suggests. www.hbaws.net. (336-768-5942). This website also provides other useful tips.