We like to do DIY work on our home. In fact, we’re 3 months into a kitchen renovation that may come to an end here in a couple weeks. And none too soon. The house is a wreck, we have no countertops, and we’ve been eating way too much takeout. We took this on ourselves because we’ve done it before and we know what the pitfalls can be. Things go wrong, things become more difficult than you imagine, and ultimately you may end up hiring people to do some of the things you just shouldn’t take on.
What’s this got to do with lawyers? I see people DIY legal issues all the time. They do it to save money. But here too, things get difficult and things definitely go wrong. And unlike a kitchen, it could end up costing you way more than you saved and you may end up in a worse spot than when you started. I am not writing this to scare you, but because I got a call today from a tearful person who had DIY’d a contract, and now the client wants them to finish the project _and_ give them all their money back. I haven’t seen the contract, so it might all be a bluff, but had an attorney written it, they would be in a much stronger position pushing back against this client demand. They would know that their attorney had their back and could walk them through what comes next. Instead, they are scrambling to find an attorney and hoping they won’t be sued. Will their DIY save them money? Probably not, because it’ll cost more to defend this than it would have been to draft the contract right in the first place.
As an attorney, I feel bad because access to justice is big issue. People feel like they cannot afford attorneys. I try to keep my costs low so that I can make it easier and cheaper for people to work with me. But I guarantee you, it will always be more expensive to clean up a mess than to prevent the mess from happening.