Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Find a Lawyer

More Options

When Lawyers Need a Lawyer: Divorce, Discipline, Crime

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

While nearly all lawyers will, at some point or another, consider representing themselves in some legal matter, it's often a bad idea. Perhaps the worst areas a lawyer can elect to self-represent include attorney discipline, personal family law matters, as well as personal criminal matters.

If you, unfortunately, are facing any of these matters yourself, or will down the road, below you can find a list a reasons why you should definitely consider the age old idiom: A lawyer that represents themselves, has a fool for a client (especially if statutory attorney fees are available).

Emotions Too High

When the case is personal to you, you won't be able to be your own best advocate because emotions will cloud your legal judgment. It really is that simple. As an attorney though, you'll be in a better position than most to help your advocate.

But, lawyers often forget how personally involved litigants become in their own cases. Sure, sometimes clients will seem disinterested, or be hard to get on the phone even, but often enough, clients are obsessed and will barely be able organize the facts of their own case, let alone recognize what is relevant. Even with your all legal training, when a case is personal to you, you need to think differently about it.

When it's your family, your license, or your liberty on the line, it's very easy for emotions to run too high and that can easily get the best of lawyers.

A Pro Se Defense Is a Bad Defense

If you're going to opt to defend yourself, know that you are putting yourself at a significant disadvantage. In addition to being held back by your own emotional connection, you are likely to lack the relevant legal experience, or at least at the same level as a specialized practitioner. In disciplinary and criminal matters, it could be bad business too, as your license could be on the line.

Furthermore, if you're not convinced that representing yourself is doing yourself a disservice, just consider the way the presentation would look to a jury or judge, or how you might be limited in what you say during witness examinations, openings and closings, as well as at other times.

Have an open position at your law firm? Post the job for free on Indeed, or search local candidate resumes.

Related Resources:

FindLaw has an affiliate relationship with Indeed, earning a small amount of money each time someone uses Indeed's services via FindLaw. FindLaw receives no compensation in exchange for editorial coverage.

Was this helpful?

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:
Copied to clipboard