You may have seen a movie or a show where a main character boldly declares that they’re dismissing their attorney and choosing to represent themselves. While this can make for some dynamic entertainment, it can be a very risky move in the real world.
You are technically free to represent yourself in a court, should you choose to.
The only real reason you would do this is to save money on legal fees. It is true that attorney costs can add up quickly, especially in cases that drag on. In return, however, you get incredibly valuable knowledge, guidance, and experience in your corner, greatly increasing your chances of coming out on top in a given case.
So, are there times you should consider representing yourself?
Self-Representation Can Work in Certain Situations
In a situation where you’re trying to get money that is owed to you, the last thing you want is to lose all of that money to legal fees. Because of this, self-representation can be common in small claims court. This includes disputes ranging from $25,000 to $100,000.
The more that’s at stake, however, the more you should consider having a lawyer on your side. This is especially true if the other party has an attorney.
Risks of Representing Yourself
The US legal system is incredibly complex. If you’re representing yourself, you’ll have to take a deep dive into a lot of things you are likely unfamiliar with. Making mistakes or failing to account for certain laws can result in you quickly losing your case.
If you’re trying to go up against an experienced attorney, you will almost certainly lose. An attorney has far greater experience, knowledge of law, and understanding of how the court system works than you could hope to learn in time for your case.
Representing yourself can be especially risky if you’re defending yourself. If you’re facing a crime, you have the right to an attorney whether you can afford one or not. Generally speaking, you should never represent yourself in a criminal case.
You Should Meet an Attorney Regardless
Even if you’re set on representing yourself, you should meet with a lawyer first. Professional legal counsel can be very beneficial, even if they’re not joining you in the court room. A lawyer can act as a consultant, informing you what you need to do and laying out a general strategy. From there, you’ll be responsible for the general legwork.
This can save some cost while ensuring you stay on the right course of action. There’s likely going to be a lot of paperwork. A court clerk should be able to provide forms and instructions in certain situations.
If you’re uncertain whether or not you need legal counsel, it’s best to meet with an attorney and discuss your case. You may find you’re more capable of hiring an attorney than you first realized. Lawyers often have flexible payment options. Sometimes, they might not collect until after the case is over, and you’ve received the money you’re owed.
If you’re in need of an experienced attorney in Springfield, Ohio, contact the offices of Michael T. Edwards today!