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There are many reasons why a person should not represent themselves in any type of proceeding.  Below are just a few.

10. Its stressful. There are reasons why so many attorneys commit suicide and turn to alcohol.

9. It is not as fun as it is on tv. Trials do not happen in 30 minutes like Law and Order.  There is a lot of paperwork, motions, negotiations, sitting, and waiting.  The wheels of justice turn very, very slow.

8. You are too emotionally tied to your case. You can’t see your case clearly if you are the one who feels you are being wronged.  Sometimes it takes a neutral third party to fairly evaluate your case and give you an opinion.  That is what attorneys are for.

7. You don’t know the other side. Attorneys deal with other attorneys all the time.  The legal community is small.  Depending on your attorney’s relationship with the other side, they may work in your favor in helping you resolve your case with the least amount of pain possible.

6. You don’t know the judge. There are two kinds of lawyers, those who know the law and those who know the judge.  Can you guess which one is better?  When you have been practicing in a certain area of law and regularly appear before a certain judge, you know approximately how the judge will rule in certain situations.  If you don’t know the judge, you are already at a disadvantage from the get go.

5. You have no ideas what the rules of evidence are. Just because you think something is relevant to your case, the rules of evidence may not think so.  The judge may or may not admit certain things into evidence.  If you whole case rests on hearsay statements, you may have no way of getting those statements in.  An attorney knows exceptions to the rule and case law that supports admitting those statements and can argue for those statements to be admitted.

4. The other attorney will show no mercy. The judge doesn’t have to cut you any slack.  Robert Frost once said “A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.”    Don’t be your own attorney.  You will then be held to the same standard as any other attorney.  Consider the fact that the California Bar admits less than half of its applicants…It’s a pretty high standard.

3. You don’t know the law. You may think you do, but you probably don’t.  Google-ing and asking your friends who have gone through something similar only gets you so far.  Each case is different.  They won’t know the changes in the law or the applicable case law that applies to your specific set of facts.

2. An attorney’s words will mean more than your words. Sorry.  Attorneys are “officers of the court.”  The system treats us differently.  We get a separate line when entering the court room, we pass through security checks easier, and we get a little more slack in the court rooms.  As an officer to the court, there are serious repercussions when we lie to the court.  We risk our professional license and our reputation in the legal community when we lie to the court.  When we say something on the record, a judge is much more inclined to believe us because we stand to lose so much.

1. You want to save money.  We never want to spend more money than we have to right?  So why would you want to hire an attorney if you don’t have to.  There are some things that are just better outsourced to people who know what they are doing.  There are 3 things in life you should never try to save money on: 1. Brain surgeon, 2. An attorney and 3. A parachute.  If you fail to represent yourself, you can lose your case.  You may still lose with an attorney but your odds are probably lower when you have a (good) attorney.


The Law Offices of Lisa Wong believes that good legal representation should be available to everyone.  If you have a legal matter that needs assistance, contact us and ask about our affordable rates and payment plans.


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