Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Do I Need an Attorney?

I get this question a lot from potential clients that are concerned about the cost of legal fees. While there are some instances where a party to a lawsuit must have an attorney such as a corporation or a person subject to a conservatorship, most individuals have the right to represent themselves and conduct their own legal affairs. The question is whether or not you SHOULD represent yourself.

I compare representing yourself to changing your own oil in your car. When I was in high school, I learned to change my own oil. I even remember that you are supposed to lubricate the gasket on the new oil filter to get a better seal. But I do not change my own oil.

If I change my own oil, I will spend half my Saturday morning underneath my truck and then still have to figure out how to dispose of the used oil. On the other hand, I can take my truck to the local EZ Lube and know that it will get done right, pay someone else to do it for $25 and get a free car wash while I read the paper at the local Starbucks. In other words, I don’t change my own oil.

Are you comfortable with your legal knowledge and skills? Then maybe you can represent yourself, but it never hurts to at least call a qualified attorney for a complimentary consultation.

About the Author
Carl H. Starrett II has been a licensed attorney since 1993 and is a member in good standing with the California State Bar and the San Diego County Bar Association. Mr. Starrett practices in the areas of bankruptcy, business litigation, construction, corporate planning and debt collection.

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