Eli5 why is it always bad for a lawyer to represent themself in court?


I understand why normal people shouldn’t, but why shouldn’t lawyers represent themselves?

In: 1

Because they’re emotionally invested in their own case. When you are emotional you don’t always think clearly or make the best decisions, and you might miss things that could help or hurt your case because you’re too focused on other things. They’re much better off to have someone else represent them who can focus on what’s best for the case.

because its a conflict of interest.

make no mistake in most cases the lawyer isnt there to let you get away scot free of somethnig . their whole job is ensuring your rights are being protected and you are being given a fair trial based on the facts and the law.

if you are representing yourself regardless of how well you understand the case you are inherently motivated to not let it go badly for you. and this is a problem especially if you are a career lawyer, since fudging the facts in court as a lawyer is how you come a huge risk of not only ending up in a bad spot but also a huge risk of losing your license ot practice.

Going through law school, I found consensus on two points:

1. It’s like why people have a proofreader. You’ll miss your own errors even while rereading because the idea already makes total sense in your head, whereas other people need to experience it for the first time. The worst symptom of this is when the self representing lawyer tries to engineer their own happy ending, and nobody is there to tell them they’re gonna have take an L on this or that.

2. Lawyers have to be very assertive and aggressive in court, almost bullying. There is something really quite off-putting about seeing someone personally do that on their own behalf when the other party isn’t. Logically it shouldn’t matter to a jury but it does. And it’s far easier to get flustered and make mistakes when someone is pushing back on YOUR aggression in a person to person conflict.

Your credibility is everything in front of a jury.

If you are the one getting sued, it’s not unusual for your character to be attacked and your credibility being questioned by opposing counsel.

If the jury questions your character and your credibility goes down the drain it’s basically impossible to win.

It’s similar to why a doctor shouldn’t treat their own illnesses. Doctor’s can’t be objective about their own treatment because they have biases about what they are feeling or what it can be. For example, they might prescribe themselves more painkillers than they would to a patient with the same symptoms, because the doctor is feeling the pain themselves and that is clouding their judgement.