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Pro Se Pitfalls: Avoid the Traps of Being Your Own Attorney

If you find yourself confronted with a legal matter, whether it be unethical housing practices, a wrongful eviction, or discrimination, the last thing you need is the potential headache of trying to represent yourself. When representing yourself, you are emotionally attached to the case, which can prevent you from seeing things objectively. An attorney will be objective and strategic when analyzing your case, ultimately leading to a better outcome. That being said, below are some reasons why you should secure the services of an attorney.

Your case is at risk of being dismissed if documents are not properly prepared and or served. In legal proceedings, the smallest details matter. Depending on your case, failure to file a timely answer can result in a default judgment entered against you. Furthermore, if you fail to assert a counterclaim, you may be prevented from asserting one later with the Court. Don’t have your case dismissed. Find an attorney who will do the legal analysis and prepare your documents so you don’t have to. Remember, you can’t defend your actions by claiming you didn’t know the law.

It is beneficial to recognize and understand all aspects of your case. You may be faced with a seemingly simple legal problem that could become difficult for you to handle on your own. Attorneys are highly skilled in issue spotting: analyzing the facts and identifying the legal elements that are present in your case. A deep understanding of these elements allows your attorney to assess your possible damages and provide you with more legal options. Representing yourself and missing material aspects of your case can lead to an unfavorable outcome and may cause irreparable damage to your case.

Objective analysis of your case is always helpful. Even the simplest of legal proceedings can be challenging for all parties involved. Retaining an attorney to handle the legal work gives you more time for self-care during what is likely an emotionally charged time.

A case that may seem simple at first can easily mutate into a long-term legal battle. Google and self-help law books can only get you but so far. You may in fact save time and money by having an attorney in your corner from the beginning to help you navigate the twists and turns of litigation while helping you to achieve your personal goals.

With the help of an attorney, you may be able to multiply your settlement amount.

A recent client of Edmonds Law Office of Civil Rights was initially offered $8,000 in their illegal eviction case. With legal representation, the client eventually settled for $26,000. The client’s settlement was more than triple the original amount. The client recouped pain and suffering and property damages. While all cases and outcomes will vary, it is important to note the importance of having attorney representation.

An attorney will help you utilize favorable options that may be less obvious or accessible. Another client at Edmonds Law Office of Civil Rights was able to terminate their lease via a relet option. The client had been facing high termination costs and negative impacts to their credit, both of which were ultimately avoided.

Robust and accurate legal advice is important and, in some cases, there is just no substitution. The financial costs associated with getting an attorney is truly an investment. With quality representation, you will be guided through a cost-benefit analysis, know exactly where your money is going, and see it all pay off in the end with a legal victory.


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