More people in America are choosing self-representation for important legal matters today than in previous times. As reported by the Associated Press (AP), the trend has unleashed a heavier burden on court systems with individuals choosing to forgo hiring attorneys for even the most difficult cases including those related to child custody.The reasons for the movement varies from lack of finances to the technology surge that has many feeling empowered to help themselves with easier access to a wealth of information. As quoted of Sue Talia, a California judge and author of Unbundling Your Divorce: How to Find a Lawyer to Help You Help Yourself, “It’s not just that poor people can’t afford lawyers. This is really a middle-class phenomenon.”
However, many have found themselves too unfamiliar with certain legal procedures to effectively represent themselves in court, despite having more access to information and resources. Still in places like California, with important matters such as those pertaining to civil family law, statistics show approximately 80 percent are handled by self-representation.
Many attorneys have chosen to work with the trend as opposed to fight against it. As noted in the AP report, the American Bar Association has encouraged the adoption of standardized forms and self-help services, and some states have modified ethics rules that enable individuals to seek partial representation for lesser fees.