A Scalpel to the Knee?

In my consultations with potential clients, I often use analogies with the medical profession and the legal profession because it seems to me that for whatever reason people can easily relate to what doctors do for their patients much more so than what attorneys do for their clients.

My habit of analogizing law and medicine started when I found myself frequently trying to explain to prospective clients how the seriousness of their legal matters would equate to a medical concern, if they had one.  For instance, when discussing a child custody matter I might say to a potential client that if their legal case was a medical issue it might be tantamount to the need for a knee surgery.   Sure, we are not talking cancer or open heart surgery here, but nonetheless, it was not something to be taken lightly.

Now the curious fact is that unlike hospitals, which absolutely do not allow people to just come in and operate on themselves, our court system does just that!  Our courts permit people to come in and represent themselves in their legal matters, and in doing so, our courts essentially allow people to “legally operate on themselves.”  In my many years of being a family law attorney it has been my experience, especially in handling “post-operative” repair work on various client’s past self-representation legal matters, that the results were just about the same as someone without any medical training taking a scalpel to their own knee.  As you can guess, in most cases the results were not pretty, and oftentimes, they were worse off than if they did nothing at all!

Now I can appreciate that this particular blog might sound self-serving and perhaps a little arrogant, and I certainly don’t wish to come across that way.  But I also struggle with my observations of how much injustice is done when our court system holds out that their doors are open to everyone and anyone who wants to represent themselves in their legal matters?

Hospitals don’t lease out their operating rooms for people to hack up their knees for a reason.




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