Lawyers are often asked about whether someone should represent themselves. This type of question comes up at parties, reunions and even family dinners. It goes something like this: “I have a friend (it’s ALWAYS a friend), who was arrested, given a ticket, is being sued, or wants to sue someone.” The person then provides an abbreviated version of the facts followed by “This shouldn’t be too tough of a case, right? Couldn’t she represent herself in Court?” Depending on the nature of the case, it’s probably not going to be a good idea to represent yourself. Although there are a number of reasons to hire an lawyer, here are ten reasons to hire a lawyer rather than represent yourself.
- A lawyer is educated in the law. Lawyers spend 3 years dedicated to studying law, how to apply the law, adhering to legal procedures and learning the language of a lawyer. Laws are complex and often misinterpreted by those who are not trained. In fact, most lawyers who have been practicing a few years, have “court” experience as well as general legal knowledge.
- It may be more complicated than you think. Sometimes a case is more complex than it appears. Do you know where to file your case? How about where you would file an answer to a complaint? Suppose you want to sue someone for a civil matter, do you know the time constraints on filing that type of case? Lawyers know how to determine all of this. It will save you precious time and money from learning what they already know or can fine out quickly.
- Not hiring an attorney can actually cost you more. This is very often the case. Think about what’s at stake in the situation. Hefty fines, loss of a job, jail time? There may be more at stake if you lose without the assistance of an attorney. Courts will treat you as if you have a knowledge of the law upon representing yourself. In other words, there is no special treatment.
- A lawyer knows the court etiquette. An attorney knows what to address and when to address it in Court. This is extremely important and can be overlooked when trying to save money. A detailed understanding of how evidence works and the rules of evidence is critical to a case. An understanding of when to address the Court or how to address the Court is also key.
- There are a lot of deadlines. Those in the legal profession understand the deadlines for filing motions, appealing Court orders, serving opposing parties, etc. One missed deadline can be fatal to your case before it ever makes it to Court.
- It may be time to plea or settle. An experienced attorney can communicate with the opposing party and determine the weight of the evidence that will be presented against you. Depending on your specific circumstances, a plea agreement may be the best option for you. To know when it’s time to plead, you need to know the strength of the other side as well as your own. This is one of the things that is learned by years of practicing law because there is no formula for this.
- It may be worth the fight. Just as an attorney may advise you to accept a plea agreement, it may also be in your best interest to fight the charge. Again, an attorney knows how to weigh the evidence, argue in Court to have certain things suppressed (thrown out) and when it’s best to fight. Not every case is worthy of a plea agreement and not every case should go to Court.
- You don’t know any expert witnesses or private investigators. Lawyers know how and when to bring in the experts. Whether it’s someone specializing in accident reconstruction, medical injuries, or investigations, lawyers have a network and an experienced attorney knows WHO and WHEN to bring someone in for the case. There is also case law that governs the testimony of expert witnesses. Bringing in the wrong person as an expert can destroy a case.
- The other party has legal representation. Non-lawyers are often at a disadvantage when the other side has an attorney. As stated above, lawyers know the rules of the Court. If the other party has an attorney and you are trying to do this yourself, you may miss deadlines, make the wrong argument or miss an opportunity for a settlement in your favor. Judges do not grant exceptions in court because you do not know the law. You are held to the same standards as the practicing lawyer on the other side.
- You are worth it and we know that. Regardless of whether you are fighting a case against you or looking to initiate a lawsuit, you should have good representation. Attorney Ty Wilson has the experience, the compassion and the legal training to provide you with the options you need. Ty will take the time to will review the facts of your situation so that he has a complete understanding. After all, aren’t you worth it?
If you have been injured and want to consider against someone else, contact us. Ty Wilson has the experience and knows exactly where to start.