Legal Innovation Market Review ST4US

By pjain      Published Nov. 27, 2019, 8:20 p.m. in blog Fin-Plan-Strategy   

Without Representation get Worst Legal Consequences

Courts have very little mercy for litigants who represent themselves. Some offer resources like volunteers and online forms, but judges are required to hold pro se litigants to the same standard as those with counsel.

Millions of America cannot afford Lawyers

Low income, no free cash to pay emergencies

Money is the holdup in most cases: litigants simply can't afford counsel and most attorneys won't take cases where the payoffs are too small to justify the court appearance.

Average income in the U.S. for 2019 is around $46,000. About 40% of Americans say they would be unable to easily come up with $400 for an unexpected expense.

Lawyers can be expensive. The average hourly rate for a lawyer in America is $284 and even attorneys that charge less can be too costly for some.

Yet hiring a lawyer to defend you in a simple car crash case can cost a minimum of $17,000 in legal costs, and basic things like getting a proper will & estate plan, or file for bankruptcy or divorce can cost an average of $5,000.

With the sky high costs of lawyers across the country, it is increasingly leading to a two-tiered justice system: those who can afford counsel and those who can't.

Two-tier Unfair justice system

Net result is that it is increasingly leading to a two-tiered justice system: those who can afford counsel can go scot-free or much reduced sentences or legal penalties, but those who can't afford proper representation get screwed.

The unrepresented or pro se litigants up against attorneys are unlikely to win their cases or settle on beneficial terms.

Rich with Strong Lawyers count on inability to afford attorneys to win!

Most civil cases are usually about debt collection, landlord tenant disputes and home foreclosures. Lawyers will build their cases around litigants inexperience and inability to hire competent counsel.

“These [rich] guys know they’re going to win. Their hope of hopes is that nobody will go get lawyers.” - Terry Lawson, a legal aid attorney in Missouri

"Lawyers can help negotiate better settlements. There’s a stark difference between the agreements signed by self-representing litigants versus what [I get] for clients."

It is getting worse under Trump and Judges unsympathetic

The Trump administration effectively closed the Justice Department’s Office for Access to Justice, which was set up to provide access to lawyers for all Americans.

Courts have very little mercy for litigants who represent themselves. Some offer resources like volunteers and online forms, but judges can be brutal.

In 2017, a court rejected her [unrepresented] motion for a continuance so she could further prepare her case and, a month later, it approved the other side's continuance motion so the lawyer could take a vacation.

75% Unrepresented

In 1992, nearly all defendants having lawyers in 1992

In 2015, just one in four civil defendants represented by counsel. - SRC: Bloomberg

In 2019 - the number of litigants without lawyers has risen in the four years since the study, as well.

Millions represent themselves

Situation Resources

Innovation in Legal Industry and Reforms Ideas

Overview of Innovation

Progress in the legal services industry is starting to expand how people get legal help, with technology such as artificial intelligence, and on-demand lawyers who can answer questions right away.

Fill in forms online and print to cover most situations

On-demand "Gig" online attorneys

On-demand lawyers who can answer questions right away and often at lower costs than brick-and-mortar attorneys.

Outsourcing to cheaper countries

The structure of the legal industry can and should be significantly reformed to more closely resemble the medical industry with its various levels of licensed professionals rather than just the one (attorneys). SRC

AI based indepth usage

Companies in Self Help Law



Rocket Lawyer

Rocket Lawyer, which has a great, affordable service that allows you to get a lawyer’s advice on your legal issue within minutes for just $50. It’s called, appropriately enough, Ask a Lawyer.# ---- BPR if you can't afford an attorney. Rocket Lawyer, similar to Legal Zoom, also helps you take care of some common legal services, like preparing a will, buying or selling a home, forming a business structure, and much more, for around $100 or less. It’s basically like DIY+. Even better is the membership which includes ALL these services, PLUS consultations with a lawyer, for just about $40 per month.

Find a Pro Bono Attorney

  • The American Bar Association recommends every lawyer to complete at least 50 hours of pro bono (free of charge) work per year?

  • Why would they take your case? Many attorneys will be happy to work pro bono for someone who has a strong case and is in desperate need of legal counsel.

So it is feasible you can shop around for an attorney looking to meet their minimum hours, allowing you to be represented free of charge. Make calls to local lawyers and give them the details of your case to see if they will take it on for free.

Problem - even Middle class "make too much money" to get help

Well, they are no help for the middle class. Even though many middle income individuals can’t afford to pay for legal services, still they generally make too much money to qualify for free legal services. And even most lower income people are turned away from these pro bono services because these organizations don’t have enough funding and resources.

  1. If they need to, an attorney can also look into legal funding for your case. Check out for a guide on legal funding.

  2. Legal clinics are a great option for people who can’t afford to pay for an attorney, but they do have restrictions you should be aware of. First off, they usually only take on civil cases, not criminal cases. Also, there is an income restriction, meaning if you make more than the listed income, you may not be eligible for their services. Legal clinics are non-profit organizations that are funded by grants and the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). The LSC was formed by Congress as a way to provide affordable legal representation to low-income citizens.

Resources - What to do?

Representing yourself BPR

Do your homework

Visit a Law School and get advice - better than just representing yourself

If all else fails, you can at least find legal counsel instead of representation. Try visiting a local law school and speak with aspiring lawyers.

Give them the details of your case and ask for their advice. Students are always looking for ways to gain experience as they go through law school, so most will be happy to work with you.

Take notes of what the students tell you, and utilize them when you represent yourself in court. It’s not the most ideal situation, but having some case counseling is better than going into court completely blind.


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