Can I do this myself?

Attorney GLEN A. NORTON ...

Can I do this myself? ... The courts are set up so that in theory a person can represent him or her self without an attorney. Doing this is called "pro se" which is just Latin which loosely translates "for yourself."

Although for example, it is possible to take your own wedding photographs, your results may vary as compared to hiring a professional photographer. Likewise in family court your image to the decision maker is at stake. When dealing in family court issues you may be talking about the largest financial commitment you make even more so than a home purchase or starting a business because those things are rolled into the family court's decisions too. It is also image control to your family, children and the public that we are dealing with. You may be overly self conscious or you may be totally oblivious to the impact of what you do and say in this context does to your image. You hire an attorney who is independent of your emotional state to tell you if your reactions, for example are excessive. An attorney who does the same area of practice all of the time, also can better guess what the court (and the other side) is likely to do. This is why experience and focus of your attorney's practice matters. You may be seeking unrealistic results and without an independent and experienced attorney to tell you so, you may ruin your chances to settle reasonably or quickly. To know a good deal when one is offered is very significant as you may not get that from a trial court and you rarely get everything you want if it goes to trial anyway. There is a lot of emotional work to do just being the person the case is about and if you can delegate some of the worries to your attorney the process may be much more successful.

For those people who are calm, organized and confident there are paralegal services who will draft documents but they cannot be certain that the documents will exactly fit your case. They are legally forbidden to advise you about your case as they are not lawyers, and not licensed to practice law in the State of Minnesota. They do provide a valuable and honorable service by drafting papers for people.

Resources For the Non-attorney

Minnesota State Law Library...
Minnesota Court Forms...
Minnesota State Courts Self Help Center...
Minnesota State Statutes...
Minnesota State Bar Association...
Office of the Minnesota Attorney General...

IF YOU ARE FEELING TOO POOR TO HIRE ME, I HAVE INCLUDED THIS FOR YOU! Although attorneys subscribe for a hefty fee to services with more information than these resources, these below are free and you can use them too. If you are working with me you are welcome to help me along with your reading of the law and the cases. If you are on the other side of one of my cases please do look up the details and I think you will see any proposal we make is fair and reasonable based upon the law and the facts as we know them. If we are misunderstanding the law or the facts please feel free to bring it to my attention and we absolutely will consider your analysis and your view of the facts. Your analysis and presentation to me/us may well be convincing and accurate and bring us to an agreement that costs you and us less. Attorneys as officers of the court should be seeking justice and not victory at the cost of justice.

Warning: I do keep tabs on attorneys (and judges) who do not seem to be seeking justice, as well as a list of my picks for Minnesota Super Lawyers to whom I would send my family and friends when I cannot work the case, but it is a confidential trade secret. If you want the benefit of my experience, like this knowledge, you will just have to hire me! I will give referrals to the other attorneys or experts whom I consider to be the best in the business, in the right circumstance.