Every person has the right to represent themselves in court. Therefore, if you have ever asked yourself, “Do I need a lawyer?” the answer is “Not necessarily!” That being said, if you decide to represent yourself in a legal matter, you will be required to understand and follow court rules and the law.
A person who handles their own legal matter, which may or may not include going to court without attorney representation, is a “self-represented” person or “in pro per”. Sometimes, this person is also referenced as “pro se”.
Read on to learn more about self representation and what it means for you. Then, find out how A People’s Choice can help.
Q: How do I find out if I need a lawyer?
A: Some people are not sure whether they need or even want a lawyer. In this situation, we always recommend speaking with a lawyer before making a final decision. However, be aware that some attorneys are not proponents of people handling legal proceedings on their own. In fact, some may even try to “scare” people into believing they need an attorney when they can easily handle their legal matters without one. Some lawyers, however, are more supportive and even offer “limited scope” services. With these services, you can pay for a consult or specific services without hiring the lawyer to represent you in the entire matter. Always be sure to inquire about these services when speaking with an attorney.
Q: When should I hire a lawyer?
A: If you’re trying to determine whether you should hire a lawyer without consulting one first, check out these examples of situations in which you will most likely need to hire an attorney:
- You require legal advice
- You do not understand legal papers you’ve received
- The case is complicated
- You’re filing an appeal of a case
- You want to sue someone but do not know the legal basis for your claim
- You do not speak or understand English very well
Q: When may I not require a lawyer?
A: You may not need a lawyer and may be able to handle your own legal matter if:
- Your legal issue is relatively routine and straightforward
- You understand the case well enough to explain it to a judge, if necessary
- You’re not nervous speaking in public or in front of a judge
- You can read and understand instructions written or spoken in English
Q: Do I have other options for professional help without hiring a lawyer?
A: Hiring a legal document assistant such as A People’s Choice offers an easier way to handle your own legal proceedings without having to hire an attorney. Furthermore, we can assess your case and provide a referral to an attorney, if needed. Sometimes, people simply need a brief consultation with an attorney before commencing legal paperwork with a legal document preparation assistant.
A People’s Choice provides legal document preparation services for filing in all 58 counties in California. Call today at 800-747-2780 for more information.