A man who is represented by a fool, is a fool ...
They say that a man who represents himself has a fool for a client and a fool for a lawyer. Of course when I talk about "they" I'm talking about lawyers. Lawyers say that, and they are right, partly.
However, if you hire a fool for a lawyer, you have a fool for a lawyer. And most lawyers are fools and all you're doing is paying some idiot a lot of money to fuck up your life for you. There are definitely two sides to this story and neither side is pretty. But I'm going to tell you the pros and cons of representing yourself. It is up to you to decide what you want to do.
It's called "Pro Se"
The first thing you need to know is that representing yourself is called "Pro Se", which when translated into English means, "You're Fucked!" It means that judges are immediately going to look down their noses at you like you're a nigger at a Klu Klux Klan meeting. It means that if you had any illusions about getting justice out of the "Justice System", you're about to have these illusions stripped away. The first thing you need to know when representing yourself is the the system is designed to screw you over. So whatever you think is your killer argument, they've probably heard it before.
First I'm going to tell you the disadvantages of representing yourself, then I'll tell you the disadvantages of not representing yourself. Among the disadvantages of representing yourself is that you are biased. You want to see things your way and overlook things that can be argued against your position. You're passionate that you're right and your opponent can take advantage of that passion to your legal detriment.
If you don't have any legal training or experiance then you don't know what you're doing. If you think you can walk into court and talk common sense and expect the judge to rule in your favor because you are obviously right, it ain't gonna happen. The use of common sense by a judge is illegal. A judge makes his decisions based on the law, case law, and the rules of court. So if you're case is so obvious that any idiot can see you're right, it will have no bearing on the outcome of your case.
If you don't know what you're doing, the system is designed to fuck you over. Some people don't like me using the word "Fuck" to describe what happens to you in court. Although some think it's a profanity, the word is appropiate because sometimes there just aren't any words that quite convey the same meaning. And anyone who has had the personal experiances I've had in court will agree with me that when I say they're going to fuck you, that you're going to get fucked. When it happens to you, you'll know I'm right.
As I was saying, laws are passed by lawyer legislators and they are designed to make lawyers rich. Judges are lawyers too and if they lose an election, they go back to practicing law. These guys make a lot of money by fucking people over and if you represent yourself you are a direct threat to their pocketbook. You are the competition and they want to make sure you don't succeed. So the rules a very complex and if you stumble, they eat you alive. And if you don't stumble, they eat you alive anyway. Just because you're right and you have the law on your side doesn't mean that you're going to get a ruling in your favor. I've had judges rule against me for no other reason than that I didn't have a lawyer. And once you've represented yourself, your marked as a "bad boy" and they continue to fuck you over.
Representing yourself is a fucking lot of work if you expect to win. If you want to "make a statement" or "stand up to them" you're making a serious mistake. These people play for keeps and it's a big stakes game. So if you're not ready to play, don't put your money on the table. The court house is no place for pussies.
Why you don't want a lawyer.
You might be saying, "Jesus Christ Marc! After what you just told me, how could I not have a lawyer?" Well, you're fucked if you don't and you're fucked if you do. (There's that "F" word again) The reason you don't want a lawyer is because your lawyer may not be working for you. You may be paying someone to fight against you.
Lawyers make money by the hour. The more hours that work the more money they make. And in the case of a divorce, if either lawyer is crooked, and you have a job, you're fucked!
Even if you trust your lawyer, he may only be partially working for you. You see, after your case is over, he's still going to have to work in that court with that judge and with the lawyers of the opposing party. He's going to make sure that he gets paid and that the other lawyer gets paid, even if it's your money. For example, during my divorce my lawyer wouldn't make any arguments as to why I shouldn't have to pay my X wife's lawyers. And as a result, I got stuck with a $15,000 lawyers fee for her lawyer on top of what I had to pay my lawyer to not argue my position.
Although my lawyer wasn't in collusion with her lawyer, a lot of times, especially in divorce, lawyers conspire with each other to completely strip the family of all assetts. And the system is designed to allow this to happen. So if you think you get fucked when you lose everything you got by representing yourself in court, imagine what it feals like to pay lawyers a lot of money and get a judgement against you for more that 100% of everything you own. Now that's getting Fucked!
Another advantage of representing yourself is that you are a master of the facts. As hard as you might try, if your case is complex your lawyer is only going to understand part and remember part of it. There are things you're going to forget to tell your lawyer, and he can't read your mind. But you know it all and that gives you an advantage.
There are rules that lawyers ignore that you, representing yourself can take advantage of. Lawyers don't turn each other in to the bar nor do they insist in court that the opposing lawyer mantain ethical behavior. If you ever read the "Code of Professional Conduct you'd roll over laughing, but lawyers and judges are supposed to follow these rules. If you are representing yourself you can insist that these rules be followed. For example, I'm suing my X and her lawyers for Fraud on the Court. Fraud on the court is where a lawyer is involved in fabricating evidence and when you have lawyer involvement then it is, in theory, a much more serious form of fraud that just purgered testamony. Fraud on the Court can be use in an Independant Action in Equity to void or devitalize a judgement involving Fraud by a lawyer.
But realistically, no lawyer is going to sue another lawyer for fraud on the court. They just don't do that. So fraud on the court is an example of a charge that realistically can only be done pro se. So if you want to bring an action against a lawyer, you probably don't want a lawyer to represent you, not that one would want to in the first place.
The big advantage to representing yourself is cost. If you have a lot of time on your hands, and I'm talking a LOT of time, it will save you a bundle. If your expenses are low and your opponent's expenses are high, you have an advantage to negotiate a favorable settlement. If it's going to cost them $20,000 in lawyers fees to beat you and you offer to settle for $10,000 a reasonable person would have to seriously consider the offer.
The advantage of representing yourself is that if you're in a situation where you're going to get fucked over, it feels better if you put up your own fight and not pay someone who isn't really fighting for you anyway.
If you have a high IQ and you have a technical background, the first thing you may realize is that your lawyer is an idiot, and you're right. You'll be sitting there in court with a lawyer who doesn't know the difference between the words "and" and "or" arguing your case against a lawyer who isn't any smarter in front of a judge who is a judge because he's too dumb to make a living practicing law. And if you're represented by a lawyer, you have to keep your mouth shut, grab your ankles, and pretend your enjoying it.
You're dammed if you do and you're dammed if you don't. I told you this wasn't going to be a pretty picture, but it the naked fucking truth. The only right think to do is for citizens to organize and take the courts back from the lawyers. The rights of citizens always come before the profits of lawyers and "justice" should be more that just a brand name used by the "Justice System" for the purpose of image and advertising. That's why I've started People before Lawyers. Becuase the courts are here to serve us, and not the other way around. Never let them forget it!
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