The best lawyers and the most effective lawyers are those who are well prepared and have an opportunity to ensure that they have considered all of the relevant issues and have a complete understanding of your legal matter. It is not uncommon for us to see people start off on their own as self-represented litigants as they are unable or unwilling to utilize the services of a lawyer. I can certainly appreciate that legal disputes are often expensive, however, when one chooses not to retain someone until the last minute it is very difficult for the lawyer to provide you the best overall representation, service, and work product. It becomes more of a challenge for the lawyer to have a deep understanding of all of the important pieces of your legal puzzle and it makes our jobs significantly more difficult.
You may be surprised to learn that retaining a lawyer early on often serves to save you money in the long run. Where a lawyer has time to contemplate alternative means of resolving your legal matter and brainstorming alternatives to litigation, time is saved which means that you save money.
The second major issue with waiting until the last minute to seek legal assistance is that you will not know whether or not your materials are sufficient to give you a good shot at being successful in your matter. By way of an example, we are often called by self-represented litigants who have scheduled their own court matter to be heard. They will contact us a few days before that application and it is only at that point that we have an opportunity to review the materials provided. The materials are often prepared by very intelligent people however unfortunately as they have not received the legal training required to prepare excellent legal documents, there are often significant pieces that are missed. Missing pieces of important evidence is very easy to do and will significantly impede chances of success in court.
Some errors that are made without experience are irreversible and can cause long-lasting impact. When you act on your own behalf the risk to you is significantly increased. There are many good reasons to hire experts and it is trite to say that one should not do one’s own surgery, nor should one represent themselves for their own legal matters.