Sunday, September 02, 2012

But ... but ... but ... family court?

Dear Samantha:

Thank you very much for contacting CyberSmokeBlog.

It's difficult if not impossible to find any criticism of the article you've sent. However, we would like to add a few comments.

We notice you've contacted us from Chicago. If American family law courts are anything like ours, and we have every reason to believe they are, they're in crisis requiring new thinking and what amounts to a major overhaul.

Sadly, divorce and/or custody litigation can go on for years and years and years and ..... . Time and time and time again we've seen examples where one or perhaps both litigants start out with representation but at some point because of dwindling resources must make a very, very difficult decision. If they truly believe they're being wronged by the system do they give up and abandon the struggle or carry on as a self-rep?

A few years ago a former Chief Justice of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench (Jeffrey Oliphant) said in an  interview with a major newspaper (Winnipeg Free Press), to paraphrase, "We're seeing an unprecedented increase in self-reps appearing in court. Oh, for sure some are seeking their 15-minutes of fame but we're also witnessing some excellent presentations and arguments."

We're aware to a couple outstanding examples but undoubtedly there are more. One is a single parent fighting an extended custody case the other a gentleman challenging the Canadian Judicial Council the Body responsible for regulating/disciplining the federal judiciary. Their filings top drawer and, in fact, both are operating on the leading edge of the law. If you didn't know you'd think they were prepared by lawyers. Each would have made an outstanding attorney had they so chosen.

Unfortunately, there will always be those lawyers (shysters) in any jurisdiction overly fixated on billable hours who will file endless affidavits, motions, motions briefs, examinations for discovery etc., etc., etc. ad nauseam especially if up against self-reps.

If Mr. Mark Laws is interested in contributing an article of his choosing to CyberSmokeBlog we'd be quite prepared to publish it.

In the meantime, we offer our ultimate tribute to the self-rep
Clare L. Pieuk  

Alarming New Report: More Americans Representing Themselves In Court
Expert Explains Why Representing Yourself Can Be Problematic

As the recession continues to affect Americans across the country, an alarming trend is starting to emerge. More and more Americans are opting to represent themselves in court in an effort to save their hard-earned money. Even though this may seem like a cost-effective way to handle bankruptcy or other pending financial litigation, in the long term it may end costing more than the assistance of a lawyer. Financial expert and bankruptcy attorney, Mark A. Laws of Hughes, Laws & Scheive explains why seeking the counsel of an attorney is almost always the best option.

Representing Yourself Can Be Time Consuming

For the average American (who doesn't have a law degree) figuring out how to represent yourself can be a very tedious and slow process. This can include learning what motions to file, specific legal points to argue, wading through and organizing mounds of documents in an effective manner - and that's just the beginning. The work and stress associated with attempting to represent yourself can take time and energy away from your family, friends and even your job - none of which are worth jeopardizing.

You May Not Know What Points To Argue

Even after taking great care to learn how to represent yourself in your case you still may not have all the information you need to win the outcome you are hoping for. Doing weeks or even momths of research on your own case does not substitute for the knowledge and experience of a good attorney. Missing even the smallest of points or not filing the proper paperwork may end up costing you your case.

It Can Increase Your Chance Of Losing The Case

According to Dave Collins of the Associated Press, a recently-released survey revealed that "75 percent of lawyers believe that people who represent themselves are more likely to lose their cases."

Filing for bankruptcy, dealing with a lawsuit or handling any other financially-related legal matter may not be as pricey as you think. The easiest, most cost effective way to figure out what to do before filing is to schedule a free, no-obligation meeting with a bankruptcy attorney. A good attorney will offer this help to you before you make a decision on how to proceed with your case.

Mark A. Laws is available for interview on this and many other topics. Please let me know if you are interested in speaking with him.


About Hughes, Laws & Scheive, P.C.

Guided by the principles of excellence and professionalism, Hughes, Laws & Scheive (HLS) provides superb client service and unparalleled legal guidance to clients in northern Illinois. The Chicago-based law firm focuses on providing a simple, stress-free experience to clients who are determining whether bankruptcy is the right option for them. Founded by Brett M. Scheive, Mark A. Laws and Tiffany M. Hughes, HLS makes the process of understanding and filing bankruptcy easier by making approachability their top priority. Hughes, Laws & Scheive is located at 200 North LaSalle Street, Suite 770 in Chicago Illinois. For more information please call (312) 651-6100.

Samantha E. Crafton
Telephone: 847-502-2001


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