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Why it’s a bad idea to represent yourself in court

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First of all, the other key players do this for a living. The judge, and the prosecutor or the attorney for the other side, are trained lawyers. You’ll be making the other side’s job easy, which isn’t in your best interest. Of course you’ll have your best interests at heart, but that’s not enough. You need to know the rules of the game, and not just the written ones. If you aren’t familiar with how to present a case, strategy, speaking to a judge, etc., it can really hurt your case.

Second, in our experience, you are more likely to lose. We get calls from people who tried to represent themselves and lost. They want to know if there’s something we can do to help, but unfortunately it’s often too late. It can feel incredibly unfair to go into court and lose because the other side took advantage of your lack of legal knowledge, but there is no rule that says the judge or other attorney has to go easy on you because you’re not a lawyer.

Finally, the money you might save on legal fees is not worth losing your case over. If it’s a criminal case, losing could mean large fines or losing your freedom. If it’s a civil case, you could lose and be ordered to pay a lot of money. Or, if you’re suing for an injury, you might miss out on getting compensated for that injury or you might end up with much less than an attorney would have gotten on your behalf.

Whether you are presenting your case in court or negotiating a settlement with the other side, an attorney is in the best position to get you a good outcome. We aren’t just saying this because we’re attorneys or because we think lawyers are great. Our experience has shown us that it’s true, and our goal is to be honest and upfront with you about how the legal system works.

If you would like help finding an Illinois attorney, please fill out our Contact Form, or call us at (312) 346-5320 or (800) 517-1614.


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