4 Reasons to Reconsider Representing Yourself in Court
It is within your legal, constitutional rights to file a lawsuit without an attorney. But with a few notable exceptions (mostly involving small claims court), it’s almost always a bad idea. It can be a tempting cost-saving measure, but not having legal representation in your corner may very well cost you a great deal more in the long run, and will consume an exhausting amount of your time. Here are some key reasons that having an attorney bring a lawsuit on your behalf is a smart move.
1. Lawyers understand the appropriate documentation and procedures
You certainly can go to your local library and read through legal textbooks to try to learn the process of filing your lawsuit. Afterwards, you can go to your county courthouse and request the appropriate forms, fill them out, and submit them. But wouldn’t you rather have this done for you by someone who does it every day? The reality is this: even with the best intentions, you are very likely to miss some details, or make more work for you then you need to. Filing incorrectly can lead to major delays or worse. It just makes sense to fire a professional.
2. Lawyers understand when and how to challenge evidence
Chances are, your opponent in the courtroom will have legal representation. What would you do if you’ve presented your evidence, just to have the opposing counsel object and the judge sustain the objection? Likewise, would you be able to recognize an opportunity to challenge your opponent’s evidence? This is where an attorney’s years of training and skill come into play. Simply put, they will pick up on things that you almost certainly won’t.
3. Lawyers will negotiate on your behalf
Oftentimes, the best legal strategy is to avoid the courtroom. But if you could do this with your opponent one on one, you wouldn’t have needed a lawsuit. This means that if their counsel wants to negotiate a settlement or counter-offer, it’s you versus a lawyer. You may pride yourself on your haggling skills, but going up against a legal expert is simply a bad idea.
4. The law is a complicated, intricate thing!
Depending on the details of your case there may be many more areas where a non-lawyer is likely to be out of their depth in the courtroom. The bottom line is this: You are entitled to bring a lawsuit on your own, but your chances for a successful outcome increase dramatically if you rely on the expertise of someone who has graduated from law school and spent years practicing law.