There are several common questions that clients often ask beyond what areas of law does your firm specialize in. They want to know how long before their case is resolved. They want to know if they will have contact with their attorney or will it be staff handling their matter.  OML provides answers to these common concerns upfront with their potential new clients.

Do I need a lawyer?

If you are looking this up and you’ve made it this far, chances are good that you need counsel. In many situations, a person can represent themselves in contract matters, in negotiations, or before a Court. However, there are times when having an attorney on your side will greatly increase your chances of prevailing. You should ask yourself, “can I afford to lose?” If that answer is “no,” you need to find counsel. Here are a few scenarios when you should definitely retain counsel:

  • You’ve been injured and must navigate claims against an insurance company.
  • The opposing party is represented by counsel.
  • You are facing a scenario which could result in your imprisonment.
  • The consequences are high and large sums of money are at risk.
  • You or your spouse are contemplating divorce.
  • You are an owner of a business (under Montana law, business owners usually cannot represent their own business entities).
  • The custody of your child is at risk.
  • You are administering to the estate of someone who died.
  • When you want to make sure your estate goes to those you want it to go to and not the government.
  • When you have a tenant who isn’t paying rent or who is destroying your investment property.
  • You have a complex business or contract matter.
  • When you are in over your head.


Legal services can be costly. Complex issues and hotly contested cases can make things more costly. In many cases though, it can be much more costly not to have a lawyer. How much is it worth to increase your chances of prevailing? How much is it worth for the peace of mind that comes from handing the problem over to a professional? There is an old quip in the legal community, that you don’t have to hire a dentist for a root canal – you can always try yourself. Of course, we wouldn’t recommend pro se dentistry just like we don’t recommend pro se representation.

I’ve been in an accident, should I see a doctor?
Almost always, yes. Chances are you are not a medical expert. If that is accurate, you should be evaluated by a medical professional after you’ve been involved in an accident.
Should I accept an offer from insurance?

Probably not without the advice of counsel. You do not ever have to accept a settlement offer from an insurance company. Specifically, you do not need to accept an insurance company’s first offer. Insurers rarely open with their best offer. Further, if you are early on in your treatment of injuries or have just gotten in an accident, you are probably unaware of the costs you may incur in the future to make you whole. It is almost certain that once you accept an offer from an insurance company, you will be barred from ever making a claim related to that same accident again.

Insurance companies exist to make a profit. They are interested in settling early for the least amount possible. It is a good idea to consult with an attorney before accepting any offer. Our attorneys have considerable experience negotiating with insurance companies. Give us a call for a free consultation.

Do you charge for a consultation?

We never charge for an initial call. There is no obligation to pick up the phone and see if we can help. Contact us today!

Can I use a contract I found online?
You can but it may not be binding or enforceable in Montana. Montana law requires that written instruments contain all material and essential terms. It is possible and potentially likely that a downloaded form contract, written in another jurisdiction may not include all material and essential terms required under Montana law. More worrisome is the possibility that your online contract is enforceable, but it says something other than you intended. Montana Courts follow the Willistonian approach to contracts applying the language of a contract, as written, to facts of the case. The intent of the parties is only evaluated when the contract itself is unclear or ambiguous. This means you could be entering into a written agreement which contains terms you aren’t familiar with or don’t fully understand. You may be bound to those terms without knowing it.
Can I use a lease agreement I found online?

You should never use a residential lease agreement, rental agreement, or other lease form you find online. Montana laws are very different from those in Texas, New York, or even Washington. Lease agreements from other states often contain illegal or unenforceable terms which could cost you money. Call the attorneys at Orr McDonnell Law, PLLC today, we have vast experience reviewing lease rental agreements and other contracts.

How do I afford a divorce attorney if I’m not employed?

This is a question we get quite often – usually when we see an unequal power dynamic in the marriage which carries over to the subsequent dissolution. Frequently the spouse on the lower side of the power pendulum is concerned with their ability to afford a lawyer for a divorce. Sometimes one spouse controls the marital funds and hides what money could be used to retain a divorce lawyer.

Our lawyers have been successful in filing suits on behalf of those parties who may not have enough for a retainer and getting the other spouse to pay attorney fees through Court orders. With decades of experience handling divorce cases, we have the lawyers to help you through one of life’s hardest situations. Call us today for a free consultation.

How can estate planning benefit me?
The main benefit of proper estate planning is that your family and loved ones will be prepared for the future and what comes after you pass away. We can help you accomplish this by preparing custom estate planning documents which set forth the nature and process for protecting your assets and ensuring those assets are distributed to your family according to your wishes. It is important to start estate planning as soon as possible so that you have ample time to create a plan that takes care of all your needs. Two significant benefits to having an estate plan in place are protecting our assets and avoiding risky and potentially costly probate. There are a variety of asset protection strategies that can protect your hard-earned wealth from creditors, seizure, and other potential losses. We can guide you through the various options to legally protect and safeguard your assets so you can pass them to your loved ones with peace of mind. One of the issues that most families often try to avoid is probate. Probate is the court process for administering a will or other testamentary instrument. It can be a time-consuming and costly process following death. With proper planning, you may be able to avoid probate and more efficiently administer property to beneficiaries.