From Strictly Legal section of How You Can Avoid Legal Land Mines by Joseph S. Lyles (2003)

Getting legal advice is like getting preventative care on your car: if you do it now, you are less likely to have a big problem to fix later. Unfortunately, too many people try to solve their legal problems themselves and wait to seek professional help until the problem has become impossible to solve. Once you have signed a bad contract it is too late for an attorney easily to get you out of it. Once you have admitted your guilt to the authorities it may be too late to avoid a severe punishment. Once you sink money into a bad business deal, it is usually too late to obtain a full refund.

With the large number of lawyers practicing today, there is intense competition, which is good for consumers, because the competition holds down legal rates. Legal counsel can usually be obtained at a reasonable price, making it easy for people to get legal advice on any significant business deal, real estate transaction or personal legal problem.

Because the volume of laws and regulations in or world is staggering, no lawyer attempts to know every one. Instead, good attorneys become skillful at finding law applicable to a particular situation. And with the internet, even sole practitioners have equal access to research the law.

The Lesson: It is better to use attorneys to avoid problems than it is to use them to get you out of trouble. If you have doubts about whether or how to proceed in a situation that has legal ramifications, then be safe and consult an attorney. Why? An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of care.