Should I Represent Myself or Hire a Lawyer?

There are many Americans who are unable to gain access to legal services. The percentage of litigants who go to court without the assistance of an attorney (which is “pro se”) is quite high. According to a statistics by the National Association for Court Management, over 4.3 million of litigants are self-represented in California. In New Hampshire, for example, people represent themselves in 85% of all civil cases. This is not good.

With the rise of “do it yourself” legal websites such as Legal Zoom and Rocket Lawyer, many people think that a lawyer is not necessary. It is believed that with a Google search, they can get all the law that they need to get a favorable outcome in court. It is up to you do decide whether a lawyer can best help you with your needs. If you have an easy legal problem or just need to fill out a simple form, then a “do it yourself” website might be perfect. But if you have a more complicated matter, then you may need something better. At many “do it yourself” legal services websites the people that help you are not lawyers. They can see whether your documents are filled out correctly but are unable to provide any legal advice.

So how can hiring a lawyer benefit you? When you hire a lawyer, you get a trained professional to help you with your case. You will have a person that is used to filing forms, negotiating, questioning witness and objecting to evidence. These are skills that can make the difference between winning a trial and losing one. There are tons of people who did not get the outcome they wanted because they did not file a document on time or they said something that they should not have. I want to help prevent this from happening to you

I would recommend hiring a lawyer in cases when there are significant gains or costs. In these situations, it is too important to leave things to chance or to do it yourself and just hope for the best. You need someone that will advocate for you and get results.

You may say to yourself, “Well, that’s great. But I cannot find an attorney.” I completely understand. If you cannot hire a lawyer to help you throughout your entire case, you can try to find a lawyer that will represent you on a limited scoped basis. In Maryland and DC, a lawyer can help you with just the services you need, whether it’s drafting a document or advice. Even a one hour consultation will put you on the right path which can be the difference between winning and losing your case.

If you are interested in getting help with legal issues involving divorce, child custody or property division, then I am here to help. Please send me an e-mail at ernest@ernestjedwardslaw.com or call 202-594-8283 to get competent, diligent representation at a reasonable fee. I look forward to helping you with your legal problem.