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Solo & Small Law Firms

Sometimes, You Really DO Need A Lawyer

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I’ll admit that there are many tasks currently handled by lawyers that a non-lawyer or pro se could take on just as competently.   At the same time, there are  certain  matters that a nonlawyer is bound to  screw  up,  often with  tragic  consequences,  as this article,  Paralegal Accused of Posing As Lawyer (Dallas Morning News, 6/21/05) bears out.

The article describes how John Dejean former jailhouse “attorney representative” who started a successful paralegal business primarily helping convicts file legal motions wound up advising a client to speak with the police about a quadruple murder in which the client had served as a lookout and carried a gun.  Apparently, Dejean did not realize that his client’s role in the crime meant that the state could do what it did, i.e., charge him with felony murder, a  capital crime, even if he was not the actual killer.

So the next time you encounter a client who wonders why he can’t handle a matter on his own or why you’re charging so much, you might just pass along this article as a reminder that in many cases, the costs of not using a good lawyer far outweigh the costs of hiring one.