If you are faced with a situation that needs legal attention, you basically have two options: handle the matter yourself or seekprofessional legal help.
Representing yourself in a legal proceeding may hold someinitial appeal due to the cost of hiring a lawyer or your interest intaking control of the situation. Before you decide to handle a legal matter yourself, however, review the section on Representing Yourself to assess whether you are ready to handle the matter and whether you have access to the resources you will need to succeed.
If you are considering handling the matter yourself, be forewarned that a seemingly simple issue can quickly grow complex. Inmost situations you will be better off hiring a lawyer, who will assess the merits of your case, explain your options, and help you achieve the best result.
If you decide to seek professional legal help, you can hire a lawyer directly or, depending on your situation, request legal assistance from a nonprofit legal assistance organization such as Legal Aid or the Citizen Media Law Project. See the sections on Hiring a Lawyer or Nonprofit Legal Assistance for more information.
If you are a journalist or online publisher you should also visit our sister site, the Online Media Legal Network (OMLN), a free initiative that connects lawyers from across the country with online journalists and digital media creators who need legal help. Lawyers participating in OMLN provide qualifying online publishers with pro bono and reduced fee legal assistance on a broad range of legal issues. More information is available here.