Monday, October 8, 2007

Want to be your own attorney?

Then read Clients taking on own cases in court. Thanks to the Indiana Law Blog for the link to this article. The ILB post can be found here (I am not sure how long the Gary Post Tribune keeps its articles online). ILB has some excerpts and here are some paragraphs I found interesting (Yes, there is some overlap):

In half of the family law cases both litigants represent themselves. By 2010 it's estimated that the vast majority of legal proceedings will be self represented,

"We're seeing more," Porter Superior Court Judge David Chidester said.

Reasons range from the cost of hiring an attorney to anti-lawyer sentiment to easy access to information on the Internet, Chidester said.

"There are people in gray areas who have an income but their money is earmarked for bills," Chidester said. "They can't afford a private attorney but they don't qualify for a public defender."


As a group, those who represent themselves "aren't doing well," Chidester said. "They're not prepared and they're judged by the same standards as a lawyer. Judge Judy and Judge Joe Brown are not the best ways to learn what happens in a courtroom."

Chidester estimates that 70 percent of pro se litigants lose their cases. "Judges are going to have to learn to deal with it."


"There are great resources on Web sites, but people don't automatically use them," he said.


Magistrate Michael Pagano, president of the Lake County Bar Association, said Lake County also is seeing an upswing in self-representation.

"From everything I've read, heard and seen, it's a national trend," Pagano said. "It's increased significantly over the last 10 years."

Pagano says he's seen self-representation get many litigants in trouble, especially from obtaining information off the Internet that does not apply in their state or their situation.


In the meantime, Pagano said, "A person without an attorney is probably going to lose on procedural or technical problems."

You can find more articles on this blog about representing yourself and why it may not be a good idea but this one has pretty much hit all the high points. The higher the stakes, the more you need a lawyer.

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