Do you really need to hire an attorney to sue someone? It depends.
If you were involved in a car accident or a dispute with a large corporation – you should probably hire a lawyer.
If you and another person are arguing over a few thousand dollars – you should consider being your own lawyer.
You need a law license in order to represent others in legal matters. However, a person can always represent themselves – the term for this is “pro se”, which is a Latin phrase meaning “for oneself” or “on one’s own behalf”.
As a lawyer, I encounter situations quite frequently where a party has been wronged but their damages aren’t enough to warrant hiring an attorney. The calculation depends on your damages and how much an attorney might cost to recover those damages. It’s a tough calculation to make because going to court is such a roll of the dice. But one thing is certain – it’s expensive. A business dispute with just a couple of witnesses on each side could easily cost each party $25,000 to $75,000 and take a year or two before getting to trial. In order to undertake that lawsuit, you should probably have damages in excess of $150,000 and be confident that the law and the facts are both favorable to your case.
However, I often see people with good cases in terms of the law and the facts, but their damages may only be a couple thousand dollars. In those instances, it is usually not feasible to hire a lawyer. But I think more people would and should file their own lawsuits if they knew how.
Listen to my interview with attorney Kevin Hudson on how to file your own lawsuit in General Sessions Court in Memphis, Tennessee.
The content of this podcast is for general informational purposes and is not meant to be legal advice and it should not be construed as such. If you need legal advice please consult an attorney.