"They Who Represent Themselves....."
Most of you have probably heard the saying, “they who represent themselves have fools for clients”. This does not mean you are not smart enough, well spoken enough, or otherwise able to represent yourself in a legal matter. It simply means you should not do so.
Attorneys are bound by oath and the code of ethics to advocate the best possible outcome possible for their clients. So why should you not represent yourself?
The first reason having a trained attorney advocate on your side in a legal matter is peace of mind. You will rest better knowing someone has your back.
Second, an attorney is able to analyze your situation without the emotion that will likely cloud your judgement. An attorney should be able to look at the facts and give you advice as to all possible scenarios and outcomes.
Third, there is likely an attorney on the other side of your case. Attorneys are more comfortable dealing with other attorneys. Furthermore, some attorneys may try to take advantage of you and are not likely to be able to do so if you are represented.
Recently I was subpoenaed to be a witness in a case that involved one of my former clients. I knew that some of the questions I may get could involve issues that would be confidential between me and my former client. So to avoid any chance of me saying something I should not, I hired an attorney to represent me.
My attorney was able to handle preliminary communications with the attorneys who subpoenaed me, lay the ground rules for my testimony, and was present during the trial to object to improper questions. I felt much more comfortable having someone there to watch my back.
Finally, a word of even more caution. If you are charged with a criminal offense, it is always best to hire an attorney before speaking to any authorities. Most of the time, if you can not afford an attorney, the court will appoint someone to represent you. I do not practice criminal law anymore, but I know lots of good attorneys who do. Let me know if you have a situation and I’ll get you to the right person.