The lawyerly answer to this question is, of course, “it depends.” You may be facing a situation where you believe you have grounds to sue someone, or you may fear that someone is about to sue you. Your legal questions may not involve issues of litigation at all, but may pertain to your rights or the rights of family and loved ones. Each circumstance is unique and there is no blanket answer that will cover all situations, hence the “it depends” answer.
However, if you have legal questions, we advise you to consult with a lawyer as soon as you believe or think that you may need a lawyer. Just as if you were sick, you would see a doctor and if you saw a fire, you would call the fire department, it is always wise to consult with a lawyer at the first sign of a potential legal issue. The attorney will be able to analyze your matter and advise you of your rights and obligations, giving you better insight into the nature of, and potential solutions to, your legal concerns. As a consultation with an attorney early on in the process may better prepare you for the time when your need for legal help actually arises, which may ultimately help you save time and money later, you should never worry about it being “too soon” to talk with an attorney.
As mentioned above, it is never wise to wait before talking with an attorney. All too often, individuals get pulled into litigation, where they are held by the court to the same standards as lawyers, let their cases linger in court for months, and then try to obtain counsel just days before trial. While this example is a bit extreme, it is not uncommon and is an easy way to turn a potentially winnable case into a loser. Waiting to obtain counsel until so late in the game not only makes it much more difficult for the attorney to be able to understand your case and effectively help you, but also increases the likelihood that the attorney willing to take your case under such circumstances will charge a heavy premium in fees for waiting until the last minute to seek legal assistance. The saying may be trite, but it is accurate: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Seek the advice of an attorney before you find yourself in a position where you need an attorney.