Unlike a paint job or a bike repair, your legal problems are NOT quick fixes.
Our legal system is a process. It's a process that requires documentation, filings, motions, pleadings, and many procedural maneuvers best left to an attorney.
Despite this, the statistics for family law cases in Maine are troubling.
The 2013 Family Division Task Force reported that the percentage of cases before family law magistrates in 2012 with one or fewer attorneys reached almost 86%. That means that, in many of these cases, one person is without representation while the other person is represented by an attorney.
So here we've come up with a list of why your legal problems are not "DIY" problems:
1. Emotions are running high.
It is perfectly human to be emotionally invested in the legal outcome. Especially when the outcome may drastically impact your personal and professional life. Emotions can blur the lines and cannot win in a situation where what matters is the “black letter of the Law.”
An attorney is not as emotionally invested in the issue. An attorney, instead, has a professional obligation to be your zealous advocate and to fight for what is in your best interests.
2. The other side may have a lawyer.
As was stated above, many cases have one person represented by an attorney and one person who is not represented. This can be equated to pitting a first time batter against a seasoned pitcher. The pitcher knows exactly how and where to throw the ball and strike you out.
Having a seasoned attorney on your team can ensure that you can go toe-to-toe with the opposing party’s attorney.
3. It is easy to get lost.
Many people know that there are laws in place. What many people don’t realize at first is that there are procedures on how to apply those laws in the courts. There are your initial complaints, motions, counter-motions, pre-trial discovery, procedures for evidence and determinations on what is admissible evidence, and so on and so forth. In other words, you can get lost pretty fast if you don’t know how to navigate the “process,” which can drive up the cost and cause you to lose your case.
An attorney has the knowledge and know-how to help you navigate the court system so that you don’t get lost in the “process.”
4. It is time consuming.
“Process” means “time” and time means money. All the filings, pleadings, and motions you have to make in a court proceeding (the process) not only takes a great deal of expertise, but a great deal of time as well. If you are doing it yourself, chances are that you are taking time away from your family, job, and from yourself.
Paying for an attorney may sound expensive, but if time is money, then think about all the time you will have to spend learning the process and how to navigate the court system, the case law and precedents, and all the legal aspects of your case.
An experienced attorney can do the job a lot faster so you can spend with your family or taking caring of yourself in what can be an emotional period in your life.
5. If lawyers shouldn’t, why should you?
Finally, a good lawyer knows better than to represent themselves. As Abraham Lincoln (who practiced law before becoming president) once said, “a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.”
So if President Lincoln says that it is a bad idea for a lawyer to represent themselves, then it is safe for us to say that it is a bad idea for you to do it yourself.
Please consult an attorney for advice about your individual situation. This site and its information is not legal advice, nor is it intended to be. Feel free to get in touch by electronic mail, letters, or phone calls. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Until an attorney-client relationship is established, please withhold from sending any confidential information to us.