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Do I Need a Lawyer for My Legal Problem? 

Sometimes people call me and are unsure if they need a lawyer. They usually are considering handling their legal problem by themselves.  Representing yourself in court is called going “pro se.” “Pro se” is  a Latin term meaning  “self” or “in one’s own behalf.” The legal profession uses a lot of Latin terms. Sometimes just the language of the legal system alone can be confusing to a pro se litigant.  

Divorce Cases 

In divorce cases, my answer is usually yes, you need an attorney. And not just any attorney. You need an experienced attorney that can handle your legal problems. The divorce court system is complex, with lots of rules, deadlines, and paperwork. If you miss a deadline you may lose your case instantly. If you fail to follow the rules you may lose your case instantly.  If you decide to represent yourself in a divorce or other type of civil case, and the other party hires an attorney, most of the time the other attorney can outmaneuver a person who is representing themself.   

Criminal Charges and Traffic Charges 

In a criminal case or traffic case, the State’s Attorney prosecutes the case.  The State’s Attorney’s Office has unlimited resources to prosecute you.  The State’s Attorney will have a staff of assistant state’s attorneys and a building full of support staff. They have access to free investigators, experts and police officers. They see and interact with the court staff and judges everyday.  Usually, their office is located inside the courthouse, sometimes a few feet down the hall from the judge’s chambers! The State’s Attorney has one job;  to prosecute you. The prosecutors handle thousands of cases a year and have very experienced trial attorneys waiting to show their stuff, in court, against you!  

Should I Represent Myself Pro Se in Court? 

Here are some good questions to ask yourself when deciding whether to represent yourself in a legal matter, either divorce or criminal. Will you know the rules of evidence? Will you know what legal pleadings and motions to file? Will you know how to subpoena witnesses? Will you know how to prepare and serve a summons? Do you know the judge’s preferences and the rules in his or her courtroom? Will you know the sentencing procedures? Do you know how to e-file documents at the courthouse? Will you have access to case law and know how to research case law?  Do you know the statutes involved in your case? Will you know how to file and perfect an appeal? Do you have a lot of extra time to work on your case? Do you know what interrogatories and a request to produce are?  If you answer “no” to any of these questions, you need an experienced lawyer.  

However, experienced attorneys are more expensive than younger, inexperienced lawyers.  I charge a good fee for my services because I know I am worth it.  More importantly, my clients know I am worth it. I have a lot of repeat business and have worked with many families to solve their legal issues over the last few decades. In the future, I look forward to working with you and your family.