Tag: legal representation

Should I use free family law resources?

Merely use them? I don’t see the harm in being familiar with them. Reading, watching, listening. Learning. That’s a good thing. A very good thing. Being dependent upon only free resources? No. That’s a bad thing. 

Should you use free resources exclusively, without paying an attorney to represent you or at least consult with you (assuming you can afford an attorney’s help)? No. The family law legal system is a mess, and if success is your aim, then trying to navigate it and understand it and work within it on your own would be, with rare exception, foolish. I wish it weren’t true, but it is. 

Ask sane people who thought they could represent themselves successfully in divorce and family law disputes how they fared. Precious few will tell you they have no regrets. Precious few will tell you they wouldn’t get an attorney’s help, if they had to do it all over again. 

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277  

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Law from a legal assistant’s point of view, week 29: Be Smart

By Quinton Lister, legal assistant 

The lesson I have been learning in my time working as a legal assistant is how important it is to have legal representation. Not just legal representation, good legal representation.  

I have by now witnessed firsthand the many, many flaws and broken parts of the legal system and I am convinced that I would never want to represent myself in a lawsuit if one was ever filed against me.  

Ignorance is most definitely not bliss when it comes to the law, and trying to defend yourself when the cards are stacked against you (and trust me, it hasn’t taken me long to discover the cards are stacked against you) rarely ends well. Happy endings make for good movies, but self-represented people (also known as pro se) don’t see many happy endings.  

I think that one reason why we like those “against all odds” movies is because it helps us believe things that make us feel better about ourselves and our circumstances. At some point or another in our lives, we all find ourselves unable to handle the truth that the system is broken, and that justice is too often hard to come by. So we latch on to the fantasies where things turn out well and they all lived happily ever after.  

I am not trying to be a “Debbie Downer” or prophesy of forthcoming doom in your particular case (if you are unfortunate enough to be proceeding pro se in a lawsuit), but the realities are that 1) the legal system is in major need of reform and 2) your best protection in and against a broken system is an honest, skilled lawyer who knows both the written and the “unwritten” rules that govern it.  

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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As a lawyer, do you typically trust what your clients say?

As a lawyer, do you typically trust what your clients say?

I don’t represent people or causes in whom I don’t believe. That is not true of all attorneys, as many are aware. When it comes to prevailing in the court case, however, it does some, but little, good to trust what a client says because the courts try to base decisions not on matters of trust but on matters of proof. So whether I “trust” or believe my client, as an attorney I know I will almost always need more than my client’s word against the opposing party’s claim to prevail.

Fortunately, our standards of proof require (or are at least intended to require) more than “your word against mine.” That doesn’t always result in justice, however. I’ve represented people I believed were innocent but who looked guilty as sin. I’ve been approached by people who are guilty but whose story of innocence sounds more than plausible. Still standards such as “innocent until proven guilty” are obviously better than and spare more innocent people of false conviction than “guilty until proven innocent” and “preponderance of evidence” is far better than merely “your word against mine”.

Some lawyers don’t care whether their clients are trustworthy. These kinds of lawyers will represent a guilty client or a client who is undeserving of any court-conferred benefit. They justify doing so by making noble, lofty sounding but empty claims like “everyone has a right to legal representation,” as if mere “legal representation” is what’s needed and deserved when these attorneys are simply using and abusing the legal system for their own benefit and without thought of justice or faith in the rule of law.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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If I can’t find an attorney, can it honestly be said I got a fair trial?

If I can’t find an attorney, can it honestly be said I got a fair trial?

If a person seeks legal representation in a court, and every attorney they tries to hire refuses to represent them, can he receive a “fair trial”?

That depends upon how you define a “fair trial”. Some people mistakenly believe that in the United States every litigant is guaranteed representation by an attorney in any lawsuit. This is not true. Defendants in criminal cases that involve the risk of substantial jail time are entitled to appointment of counsel, free of charge to the defendant, if the defendant so desires.

In some jurisdictions, a parent is entitled to appointed counsel if the state petitions to terminate that parents parental rights.

There is no right to appointed counsel in civil cases. so there is no right to appointed counsel in divorce actions or personal injury actions or other cases that do not involve serious, jailable criminal charges. So, if you were to claim you could not find any lawyer to represent me and to help me in my civil suit, you could not claim that your rights were somehow violated. It could thus be said that you received a fair trial, even if you were unable to find a lawyer to represent you at trial.

But if the case was a complex one, and one where a knowledge of the laws and/or regulations, as well as the procedural rules of court, makes the difference between winning or losing, having no attorney to represent you, that isn’t a fair fight. unfair, but not illegal. You have no legal recourse in those circumstances.

I have met people who have claimed that they cannot find an attorney to represent them in a particular civil action. More often than not, the reasons why are fairly clear: the person seeking representation can’t afford to pay the attorney and/or the person does not have a winning legal argument (either because that person is clearly in the wrong or because that person doesn’t have enough evidence to win or to win in the manner that person desires).

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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