QUESTION: Do I Need a Lawyer?
ANSWER: It Depends
Every person has the right to represent themselves in Court. (Note: a corporation is NOT considered an individual and requires attorney representation.) If you have asked yourself the question “do I need a lawyer,” and decide to represent yourself in your legal matter, you will be required to understand and follow court rules and the law.
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. Be aware that some attorneys are not proponents of people handling their legal proceedings on their own, and may even try to “scare” people into believing they need an attorney when, in fact, they could easily handle their matter without one. Some lawyers, however, are more supportive towards the self-represented person and even offer “limited scope” services. This means you can pay for just the consult or specific services and not hire the lawyer to represent you in the entire matter.
What Does it Mean to Represent Myself?
A person that handles their own legal matter, which may or may not include going to court without being represented by an attorney or lawyer, is called a “self-represented” person or “in pro per.” Sometimes it is also referenced as “pro se.”
When Do I Need a Lawyer?
Here are some examples of situations when I may want to hire an attorney.
- I need legal advice.
- I received legal papers I do not entirely understand.
- I have a complicated case.
- I am filing an appeal of a case.
- I want to sue someone but do not know the legal basis for my claim.
- I do not speak or understand English very well.
When I May Not Need a Lawyer
I may not need a lawyer and be able to handle my own legal matter if:
- My legal issue is relatively routine and straightforward.
- I understand my case well enough to be able to explain it to a judge, if necessary.
- I do not get nervous speaking in public, if necessary (or in front of a judge).
- I can read and understand English.
- I can follow instructions.
Getting Professional Help With Legal Document Preparation
Using the services of a legal document assistant’s office such as A People’s Choice offers people an easier way to handle their own legal proceedings without having to hire an attorney. Any legal paperwork that you can prepare on your own, will always save you money in the long run. If you would like a referral to an attorney, please let us know and we will try to give you contact information of several options. Sometimes a brief consultation with an attorney before commencing legal paperwork is all that many people need before proceeding with their self-representation.