The Self-Represented Litigant Tsunami is Here

The World Wide Web has democratized many things that once were very structured or hierarchical.  People now shop online for everything from groceries to wine to automobiles.  While they may be reluctant to hire attorneys from websites,[1] they are bombarded daily with radio and print ads that lure them to handle their own legal matters:  “It’s so easy!  It’s so simple!  Even you can do it!”

But, as you know, “simple” legal matters are very often not so simple.  Unlike an experienced attorney who knows the questions to ask and the twists to expect in his or her area of expertise, the novice lay person often kids themselves into thinking that their legal matter is easy or at least they can ignore the parts that are not and get it done for little money.

Much like the weekend DIY appliance repairman who has not seen the inside of an appliance in decades, many of them fall into the trap laid by the publishers of those “do it yourself divorce kits” and other books and forms and end up with more confusion or even a more complicated matter than when they started.

Where some see a threat; others see opportunity.  Which one is this?

[1] See “Perspectives on Finding Personal Legal Services: The Results of a Public Opinion Poll,” published by the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services, February 2011, at pages 7-10.


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