Even though I may know how to cook, mow the lawn or change the oil in my car, I still go out for dinner and pay others to do services that I don’t have the time, inclination or experience to do. If you can afford an attorney why would you not hire one? The reality in the United States is that those who are represented by competent attorneys get better results. This is not to justify the need to pay for an attorney, but reflects the advocacy skills, legal knowledge and ability to present information clearly to a court. Making it easier or clearer for pro-se litigants on what they have to do is unlikely to take business away from the bar.
If you’d ask other family law lawyers publishing blogs, you’d hear the same thing. Lay people are starved for legal information. They do not trust lawyers to do right by them. By sharing legal information via a blog not only do people begin to trust the blogging lawyer but they also understand what the lawyer can do for them.
Peter also points out the tremendous need for lawyers to help pro se litigants.
I think the New Jersey court system should be doing more to help pro-se litigants fill out motion forms and navigate the court system. The argument the judiciary states for not giving much pro-se assistance, is to avoid giving legal advice. However, one only has to look to other State court systems e.g. California to see how much more can be done just to help people fill in forms and navigate the court system.
Finally, Peter nails what I’ve been preaching, that being that every lawyer should aspire to do pro-bono work and that writing a blog fits the bill.