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Legal Scale

Pro Se v. Legal Representation-
Why or Why Not?

"He who represents himself has a fool for a client”.

-Abraham Lincoln

This is an old proverb that lawyers use time and time again. Some use it as a joke amongst colleagues while others use it as a marketing tool.


But the truth is no better words have been spoken.


In a world where technology is leading the pack, Google has become everyone’s best friend. From how to videos, DIY tips and tricks, educational documentaries, etc. Everything you need to learn is at the click of a button!


But the reality is, the amount of information that can be found on the web is not proper training in the legal field. Even if you think you cannot afford a lawyer, don’t qualify for legal aid, you don’t trust them to have your best interest at heart or think you can do a better job, just be careful.


Sure you can look up law statutes, ordinances and cases on the computer but that doesn’t show you how to use them in a court of law.


There are court rules, procedures and etiquette that you simply will not learn from the web.


Lawyers have several years of extensive education and training to provide the best possible outcome for their client. They are officers of the court and have a special responsibility for providing quality of justice to individuals.


Their training involves thinking beyond the scope of the law to argue things from both sides of the case, discovery exchange, motion practice, presenting a case before the court, trial procedures, jury selection and so on.


You cannot get this type of training from Google.


Believe it or not this quote pertains to lawyers themselves. It can become a slippery slope when an attorney tries to represent himself as a defendant in a court of law.


The United States Supreme Court has even weighed in on this subject by quoting a law professor’s statement that a “pro se defense is usually a bad defense”. Lawyers who represent themselves can be overly passionate because of their closeness to the case. It can be confusing to the jury to distinguish between when they are presenting facts as a witness or making an argument as an attorney.


Judges tend to keep pro se attorneys on a tighter leash especially during open and closing arguments to prevent them from making any fact base statements without first being sworn in.


Most lawyers do seek representation. Legal advice is expensive and it’s easier to jump on the computer to get the information.


But trying to represent yourself in court based on information obtained from searching the internet will leave you falling short every time. If you try to tell a Judge, “But Your Honor, I simply did not know”, more than likely their response would be “Ignorance of the law is no excuse”.


It’s better to just leave it to the professionals.


Please don’t confuse Google over anyone’s degree!


If you needed open heart surgery you clearly wouldn’t place your life in the hands of someone who read how to perform it on the internet.


The internet is there to guide you to the proper people that will help you with what you need. Getting an expert in the required field will save you time and energy with a better outcome.

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