Self-Service or Legal Service? The Choice is Yours

Do-it-yourself lawyering should only be implemented when you are dealing with small amounts of money or small issues.  In essence, you can probably do it yourself if losing the case you will not cause you to lose much sleep.  Anything beyond this you should really at least consult a lawyer.

I see it time and time and time again.  Person tries to handle a situation without a lawyer or without even consulting a lawyer and by the time the person contacts me there is not much, if anything, I can do for him.  One of the toughest spots is when a potential client has filed a lawsuit or answer or other pleading pro se and without the benefit of legal counsel.  Usually the opposition—typically represented by an experienced attorney—will begin to apply pressure via the applicable legal procedures and the potential client feels the need to get some help.  Whether or not a lawyer can help the potential client depends greatly on the nature of the case and what has already occurred.  Damage control may be needed but there are some times when the worst damage is already done.

You have been briefedSometimes failing to handle a situation can get you sunk too.  Too often I receive calls from people who have been sued by creditors or debt collectors and the people may have good defenses and even counterclaims.  But the person ignored or did not understand the need to file an Answer or response to the Complaint so they did nothing.  The person assumed they would get notice of a court hearing at which she could tell her side of the story and assert her defenses.  However the savvy creditor/debt collector plaintiff followed the rules of procedure and the person never got a chance to tell her story in court.  Judgment for the savvy creditor/debt collector.  Illegal?  Probably not.  Unfair?  Perhaps.  Avoidable?  Probably so if the person had consulted a lawyer as soon as she was served with the Complaint and Summons.

Here are some resources if you are contemplating the do-it-yourself lawyering approach.  And here is a checklist of things to consider in deciding whether you would be best advised to consult and retain an attorney.  And be sure to locate an attorney who has experience and results ain the area(s) of law governing your situation.

On a related note EVERYONE reading this post should click here for access to materials and information that can enhance your legal knowledge and make you a wiser consumer.  In sum, tread carefully when deciding whether to represent yourself in a legal matter.


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