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Should I Handle My Own Legal Case?

By Renee Nordstrand on September 28, 2018

Simply put, you should never try to represent yourself in a California legal proceeding, whether you face a criminal charge against you, a lawsuit that you wish to file against someone else, or a lawsuit filed against you. The stakes are high, and you should always speak to a lawyer first about your situation. We may advise that there are steps you can take to help your own case, but generally, hiring a lawyer will ensure the best outcome.

In any serious legal situation, an experienced and local attorney can represent you and your interests far better than you can alone. The amount of work involved, and the type of work involved, is more than most American citizens are equipped to handle. Your opponent, be it the government, another person, or an insurance company, will certainly have an attorney—possibly a whole team of attorneys.

Don’t wait. After any accident or incident, call a lawyer right away to protect yourself.

Attorneys Know the Game and How to Play It

Handling a legal case is not similar to refinishing a coffee table or changing a spark plug—it is a serious and complicated process. Understanding how our legal system works and how insurance companies evaluate a case is not something a person can pick up in a long weekend of browsing websites. There is a reason lawyers spend years in college and subsequently at law school, studying the law and practicing for real-life scenarios. And that is only one aspect. Many lawyers, once they graduate, never become adept at presenting a case in a courtroom, in front of a jury.

Trial lawyers are a different breed altogether. Standing up in court and presenting a case involves both quick thinking and sensitivity, backed by rigorous research and investigation. The lawyer must know the judge, the courtroom atmosphere, and how to speak eloquently to a judge and jury. He or she must have all the facts, and be ready to jump in instantly if the opposing counsel steps out of line.

Good trial attorneys understand the rules of the American justice system and what kind of evidence and presentation are most likely to succeed for their client; that is not something one can learn from reading mystery novels or watching courtroom procedurals on TV. (Neither of those are accurate to begin with, though entertaining.)

Attorneys Know There’s So Much to Do and So Little Time

There are a lot of moving parts that need to be managed in order for you to have a successful claim. Paperwork has to be filed for every step of the process, often with strict deadlines, and these forms need to be filled out in specific ways to ensure they are accepted by the court.

The adversarial nature of the U.S. legal system means that your opponent, whether the state charging you with a crime or an insurance company trying to get out of paying for your hospital bill, will have a lawyer to represent them. They will be on the hunt for any chinks in your armor; any weakness in your claim; any tiny little rule that is not followed to a “T.” They will look for technicalities to get your case thrown out, and if you do not have a tough and experienced attorney on your side, you are at a serious disadvantage.

Attorneys Won’t Have “A Fool for a Client”

There is an old saying that, “A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client,” and most attorneys agree with this sentiment. When a lawyer needs to file a case or defend against charges, he or she will often hire another attorney for representation rather than handling the case alone.

This proves the importance of having another person to act as your advocate, to fight for your rights as you are thrust into a maze-like legal system that is often stacked against you.

If you or a loved one needs representation for a criminal defense or a personal injury case, call NordstrandBlack PC at (805) 962-2022. We have nearly 30 years of experience representing clients just like you throughout Southern California, at jury trial and at the negotiation table. Your consultation is free.

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