What Help Can I Get If I Don't Have An Attorney?
Not everyone wants to use an attorney. We are an expensive and opinionated bunch, and so while I always believe it is in someone’s best interest to retain an attorney, I can understand the appeal of heading out alone.
The primary asset that people use when they look to file a lawsuit without the help of an attorney is the internet. And while it is true that the internet contains all the information you need to navigate the court system—free of charge—it does not mean that it does a good job of curating the information and synthesizing it down to a useful form for you. That is what three years of law school is for. As a result, if you only turn to the internet for help you are likely going to go down unfruitful rabbit holes of research, or be misguided to file something that you shouldn’t have, or file the correct thing in the wrong way. That is why, if you do decide to forge it alone, you can save yourself dozens of hours of time wasted and heartache if you utilize the underused resources most courthouses provide for you.
If I asked you what is the first thing to do when deciding to file a lawsuit, you would likely have no idea. If I asked you if your initial complaint had to be verified, you would likely look at me puzzled. However, self-help centers at the courthouses throughout California do an excellent job in helping you to cut through the red tape that attorneys know about, but most everyone else does not.
To use the Orange County Superior Court as an example, they offer workshops on, among other things, unlawful detainers, conservatorships, guardianships, and restraining orders. In addition to these workshops, they also provide help navigating the procedural red tape in the same areas that they provide workshops in, as well as small claims and general civil lawsuits.
While the self-help centers can’t provide you everything, like legal advice, they can assist you in ensuring that you are going in the right direction.