10 Mar Handling Your Own Missouri Small Claims Case
A small claims case is indeed that- small. Most are under a few thousand dollars. Some consumers do not want to pay for a lawyer to handle such a small amount. If you’re in that boat, then what’s the solution? It’s two-fold.
(1) The Courts allow you to represent yourself
The small claims courts are very friendly to pro se litigants, i.e. people who are representing themselves. You will get a little bit of slack in paperwork and courtroom etiquette. The Judge may even give leeway with evidence issues at a hearing or trial. However, not everyone wants to or can handle their entire case in a court of law. For those folks, the next option is #2.
(2) The Bar allows Missouri Attorneys to handle only a portion of a case
Traditionally an attorney was expected to be responsible for the entire case, from start to finish. If anything went wrong, it fell on counsel. And consumers in turn paid their attorney for full representation. But we are embarking on a new area where knowledge is everywhere. The Internet and media have changed access to the law. Now not every situation requires full-blown representation. That is no more evident than in small claims court where the risk is small.
Now, thanks to the Missouri Bar ruling that it passed ethical muster, you can sit down with a lawyer and map out limited services on your case, which will save you money. You will find out exactly what you want to or can handle, and where you need professional, experienced help. You will get a quote for that portion and, if hired, you will pay for only that portion that was needed. Maybe you need a legal opinion on your case. Maybe you need help getting the paperwork in order. Perhaps you are taking your small claims case to trial or hearing and you either want representation for that portion, or you want coaching to pull it off yourself.
In any event, limited scope representation is a useful weapon in the fight for economical access to justice.