Deciding to Represent Yourself
Here are some of the pros and cons of being your own lawyer.
- Costs: You may pay less money overall if you represent yourself. A Lawyer bills between $150 to $400 per hour they work on your case. If you represent yourself, you will not have to pay these fees.
- New Experience: You will learn a lot about the law and our legal system.
- Sole Client: As your only customer, your case will always come first.
- New Skills: A lawyer has had seven years of college. Also, a lawyer makes arguments and does legal research full time. You will have to put in a lot of work to reach their skill level.
- Same Standard: The law applies to us equally, regardless of our job. The Court will hold you to the same standard that a lawyer is.
Time Costs: A case will take a lot of time and hard work. You will need to:
- Research and understand the law affecting your case.
- Learn what paperwork to fill out and what hearings to attend to bring your case.
- Complete the required paperwork and prepare for court.
- Collect and organize the facts of your case.
- Make good arguments that persuade the Court.
- Understand your options and decide which option is best for you.
- Too Personal: A case brings a lot of conflict and stress. You will feel many different emotions as a result. After a strong emotion, it takes 20 minutes to become calm again. A calm mind will allow you to make sound arguments and wise case decisions.
Unforgiving Mistakes: You are going to make some mistakes as your own lawyer. However, some errors can be very unforgiving. A single mistake may prevent you from:
- Being able to start or keep the case open.
- Being able to file a document.
- Presenting a piece of evidence or call a witness at a hearing.
- Starting an appeal or raising an argument as part of that review.
- More Money: You may have to pay the other side's costs or lawyer's fees. You pay these costs when you lose the case or bring a request without legal support.
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