Saturday, March 9, 2013

No surprises here

It's called the PRACTICE of law for a reasonThis might come as a surprise to some, but as part of my law Librarian reference duties, I also teach rank and file non-attorneys how to do their own legal research.  For most of these people, the closest they've ever come to the legal arena is to watch Perry Mason on television.  Sad thing, though, is some people need to have life smack them upside the head a few times before they get what I'm preaching.  I had a lady in my class a while back who, even after sitting in my class, didn't understand why it was important to know how to do legal research or why anyone would need to use a law library.  The fact is people are faced with hardcore legal questions every day and don't even know itHere are a couple of easy examples to show you what I'm talking about.

Calm down.  I said, "CALM DOWN!" Say you're driving along and a car cuts you off. Did you flip them the bird or scream at them? Did they get out of their car and threaten you? Well, right there are a bunch of legal issues all inside of 5 minutes. Fact is, if you head over to your local county law library, you can see for yourself by looking in California Jurisprudence, 3rd (West).  Be sure to look in the index under intentional torts (battery, assault, false imprisonment) and negligence.  Once you get in the swing of things, you'll see lawsuits all over the place.

Here's another one.  Maybe you've been wanting to get your own living trust drawn up (to avoid probate) and maybe you saw a roadside sign for living trusts and dpa's for Get your trust done by someone who only practices estate planningonly $199. Thinking you're getting a deal of a lifetime, you head on over and they draw something up that looks like a trust. The question is, will it hold up in court. Did the attorney/paralegal follow the law when they drew up that "legal" document or were you just another mark to help pay for their new toy? Only one way to find out: go to your local county law library and look at West's California Codes General Index and look for "durable power attorney" or "trusts". You might also want to look in LARMAC for the same thing.  Might I also suggest you take a look at The Law of Trusts and Trustees (West) and Page on the Law of Wills (Anderson Publishing).

Woooooooooo, Pig ! Sooie!Life is sure full of surprises, isn't it? You can either hide your head in the sand or go to your local county law library to see what you can do to protect yourself. So, whether you're the potential suer or suee (no, not as in the hog call), know that your law Librarian has what you need to help protect you and your interests.