When you have a legal dispute with another person or company, representing yourself may be a bad idea. While some people do represent themselves, it can lead to early defeats, problems with court rules, trouble resolving a dispute, or even dismissal of the case.
First, self-representation could lead to defeats and disappointments very early in the dispute. People and businesses that want to bring legal claims often send demand letters or approach the other parties before filing lawsuits. This early stage of the case is frequently crucial for locating evidence and gathering helpful arguments. Unfortunately, people without legal training may not recognize the key legal elements of the claim. You may inadvertently miss something that could affect the entire claim, at the very beginning of the case.
Problems with Court Rules
Without legal training, you may have difficulties doing research into court rules and case law. Lawyers with knowledge and experience may have handled cases similar to yours before. They already know the relevant cases and how to follow the court rules. Using a lawyer can save you time and trouble, as well as save you from unexpected legal errors.
Trouble Resolving a Dispute
Lawyers have practice in dispute resolution techniques such as mediation or settlement negotiations. With legal help, you may be able to resolve your dispute more quickly than if you represented yourself. Further, the other parties in the dispute will likely have lawyers. When you have a lawyer on your side, you can better address their demands.
People who decide to represent themselves may learn when it is too late that they should have hired a lawyer. Some claimants face the unfortunate result of having their lawsuits dismissed or they fail to appeal important decisions made by the court in the early stages of litigation until the time has passed to appeal the decision. Others end up spending a lot of their own time pursuing or defending a lawsuit that could have been resolved more quickly. In sum, hiring a lawyer can save you time and trouble, as well as potentially producing a better outcome for you in the dispute.