If You Need Legal Help, Don’t Go it Alone.

It’s said that an attorney who represents himself has a fool for a client. While you’re probably not an attorney, there may come a time when you need the services of one and you may consider representing yourself.

The term for representing yourself is pro se. It’s defined as acting as one’s own attorney or representing yourself in a civil or criminal matter, according to Black’s Law Dictionary.

While acting as your own attorney may save you money in the short run, doing so could cost you much more over the long term. If you decide to represent yourself, here are five things to consider.

  1. Attorneys Know the Law: Laws are constantly changing. An attorney will know the most current laws and cases that affect your legal situation. Just as you’re an expert in your field, attorneys are experts in their fields.
  2. Attorneys Can Maximize Your Award: While every legal situation is different, an attorney specializing in your type of claim is familiar with past monetary settlements and knows the best tactics and strategies to get the maximum financial results for you.
  3. Attorneys Know How the Legal System Works: Do you know what court papers need to be filed and by when? Do you know how to subpoena witnesses? Do you know how to arrange for and take a deposition? Do you now how best to negotiate a settlement? An attorney does. Not following proper court procedure or missing deadlines can hurt your case and your chances of success.
  4. Do You Have the Time to Go it Alone? Researching and preparing for any legal negotiation or case is time consuming. Think about how busy your life is. Between work and family obligations, do you have the time to do all the legwork required to defend your position and win your case? Can you afford to take time off from work if you’re required to appear in court? In addition to knowing the proper procedures for preparing a case, most attorneys have a staff and a network of investigators and experts that they can call on to assist them in supporting your position.
  5. The Other Party Will Have An Attorney: If you decide to represent yourself, it’s highly unlikely it will be against someone who is also representing themselves. You’ll be facing a highly experienced lawyer. Someone who knows the law, recent case settlements and verdicts, the legal system and has a staff dedicated to helping him or her win.

If you find yourself in a legal dispute or situation, I suggest you think twice before deciding to go it alone. Hiring an attorney to represent your interests is generally the best way to protect your legal rights and look out for your family.

Robert M. Cohen
Attorney at Law
Attorney Member, Walker & Walker Legal Network at 1-800-THE-LAW2
The information within the blog is not to be construed as legal advice.