A common question is do I need a lawyer?

People call my office and sometimes ask, "Do I need a lawyer?" You certainly are not required to have a lawyer, but I think it is a smarter choice than going without. If I were not an attorney and I read what you just read, I might be inclined to think, "What else would a lawyer say?" Right?

In Kentucky, one may represent himself or herself pro se but that ability is limited to one's self. As stated in Taylor v. Barlow, 378 S.W.3d 322, 326 (Ky. App. 2012), "an individual may file and practice his own lawsuit in any court within the Commonwealth. . . ." Our Supreme Court clarifies the role of a pro se litigant by explaining if people represent themselves, they are bound by the same rules and procedures as a licensed lawyer. Id. 

If you choose to represent yourself, then you are considered a pro se litigant. Kentucky courts still require pro se litigants to follow certain rules. "The rules governing the practice of law in this Commonwealth clearly provide that pleadings, motions, and other papers, including motions for discretionary review, are to be signed by the party or his attorney of record." Brey v. Commonwealth917 S.W.2d 558, 558 (Ky. 1996) (emphasis original). 

CR 11 requires that "[a] party who is not represented by an attorney shall sign his pleading, motion, or other paper and state his address." Harrison v. Jenkins, No. 2020-CA-0948-MR, at *3 (Ky. Ct. App. Aug. 20, 2021). As the preceding illustrates, knowledge of the rules is extremely helpful in most cases. 

Watch the video below as an illustration of the point.

If the matter goes before the judge, then certain rules apply as to what can and cannot be entered into evidence. Without an attorney, you may find yourself walking out of the hearing or trial wondering what just happened or feeling like you didn't get the opportunity you expected to present your case. Although the video below is an exaggeration, it is a humorous illustration of the point.

Finding a Good Lawyer

One good way to find a lawyer is to check out their online recommendations, ask friends, acquaintances, or other lawyers and attorneys for referrals and then interview the candidates. You can call my office at 502-509-1490 to schedule a consultation to discuss your options or set an appointment here: https://www.johnschmidtlaw.com/schedule-appointment/

Let Our Experienced Team Help

If you’re facing divorce, custody, grandparent's rights, paternity, adoption, criminal charges, personal injury, or need deeds or wills prepared in or around Shepherdsville or Shelbyville or Taylorsville or Radcliff or Elizabethtown or Louisville, Kentucky, rely on our team at the Law Offices of John Schmidt & Associates. We will fight aggressively to help you protect your rights with the goal of obtaining the most favorable outcome. Schedule an appointment here: https://www.johnschmidtlaw.com/schedule-appointment/

 


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