Welcome to Affordable Legal Services
By: Joseph J. Piatchek, Managing Attorney
Hello, and welcome to Affordable Legal Services, a special division of the Piatchek Law Firm that provides legal assistance throughout Missouri at reasonable, flat rates. But first, let me tell you just a couple of quick things about myself. I have spent my entire life in Missouri, and have degrees in both Psychology and Law from the University of Missouri. After graduating, my first job was at a mental hospital for children, working mostly with adolescents who were suffering from various forms of mental illness, abuse, and neglect. I saw a lot of things there that both shocked and saddened me. However, helping these children, in the small ways I could, was very rewarding.
Later, I became a social worker and case manager for senior adults with mental illness. Working with senior adults was a lot more difficult, and I started to see some patterns emerging. I learned that it’s easier to address problems before, or shortly after, they arise; it seems like the longer you leave a problem unaddressed, the worse it can become. Some of these adults had been living with the same persistent problems for their entire lives, since they were children. Meanwhile, there were others who sought treatment when they were younger, and were to change. What was the difference? Many times, it was as simple as having access to help.
Preventative Law: Increasing Access to Legal Services
In some ways, seeking legal assistance is very similar to seeking treatment for your physical or mental health. Some people get the help they need, and see their lives improve; others never get the help they need, and things continue to get worse. Finally, there are a chosen few who are able to get preventative treatment and keep a problem from ever coming up to begin with.
The difference between these outcomes often comes down to simply having access to help. Those who have access to help will often see their situations improve; and the sooner they get that help, the less help they will ultimately need, and the better the outcome.
At Affordable Legal Services, we are working hard everyday to bring quality, reasonably priced legal services to those who seem to have the least access to it – everyday working people. If you think about it, families who are doing well and don’t struggle with finances also don’t have to worry about affording an attorney. Meanwhile, those on the opposite end of the spectrum may at least qualify for public defenders, legal aid, and many types of low-cost or free legal services based on low income – so at least they have options.
What about everyone else, the 80% in the middle? What about those who make too much money to qualify for low income legal assistance, yet cannot afford expensive hourly attorneys?
The Usual Suspects: National Online Sites and Pre-Pay Programs
Many people in the middle are afraid they cannot afford an attorney. Sometimes that is true, although sometimes people assume it without even looking into it. Because of this, some people avoid getting the help they need, or sometimes even worse, they end up going to national self-help legal sites. These sites look pretty and may even be informative. Unfortunately, they may also give a person false confidence that the situation has been properly handled. However, because the person identified or defined their own problem, without guidance, and attempted to fix it without professional advice, they may not have actually fixed the problem. They might have even fixed the wrong problem, fixed something that wasn’t actually a problem, created a new problem, or make the problem far worse!
Other people may join a prepaid legal system, sort of like insurance. They pay every month, whether they have a problem or not. Then when a problem comes up, it may or may not be covered – and even it if is covered, the often may not be a qualified attorney participating in the program for that kind of problem or type of case. If you think about it, how many times should the average person need to hire an attorney during their lifetime? When they write a will? Get a ticket? Get divorced? The average person will only see an attorney a few times in their entire life. So why pay every month for something that you only need every now and then?
Affordable Legal Services
I started Affordable Legal Services because I wanted to help that 80% in the middle. I want to provide affordable legal services for common legal problems, so that these everyday situations get handled quickly, affordably, and simply – and before they become bigger problems. Please keep in mind, I said “affordable”… not “cheap” and certainly not “free.” If we worked for free, or something close to it, we would all be unemployed and able to help no one.
So we are charging reasonable, flat rates for many common legal concerns. Although many concerns are common, make no mistake – we bring real assistance and real change into people’s lives. It is not just “doing another divorce,” “filing some LLC,” or “creating someone’s will.” The way we see it, it is so much more than that. Each case we handle is one life we have the opportunity to change.
For more information, contact our firm anytime, or click the link to learn about Our Mission.