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Do NOT Represent Yourself

If there is one thing you should never compromise, it’s your legal defense.  Yet, it is something that hundreds of thousands of people do each year.  It’s called pro se legal representation, and in the United States it is a huge problem.  According the NCSC (otherwise known as the National Center for State Courts), pro se legal representation is on the rise, with some states even requiring self-representation for matters such as small claims court.  This increase seems to have driven an increase in many to self-represent for family law cases, intellectual property cases, and even criminal cases.

So why do people do it?

“It’s cheaper!”

It might seem cheaper on the outside looking in, and you may even have the law on your side, but if you don’t understand what everyone else is saying, you will lose.  Pro se litigation, as one judge points out, can actually “up the cost of legal representation”, due to the fact that represented clients will have to pay out more because their attorneys will spend even more time dealing with pro se litigants, which raises the cost of attorneys for everyone.

Cheaper means cheap, and you’ll certainly get what you don’t pay for if you decide to represent yourself.

“It won’t take that much time!”

Some people are even under the illusion that representation does not take that much time, and that they can “wing it”.  The truth is that cases can take days, weeks, even months, and time is the most precious resource you have.  A basic understanding of the legal system gets you into the  front door and may even get you a motion filed.  After that, the different language kicks in and you are left out to dry.

So, why take the risk when there is so much to lose?

 Kohlmeyer Hagen, Law Office Chtd.
Mankato, Minnesota