Successful Self-Advocacy Techniques
by Jeremy T. Robin, Esq.
How does a non-lawyer compete in a legalized and bureaucratized world to effectively negotiate a problem? What about securing the proper lawyer where necessary? The answers lie in applying simplicity and common sense. Otherwise said, the knowledge and training earned from a law degree may be detrimental.
The Lawyer Within offers a holistic and spiritual approach to negotiating solutions. By searching within, we develop the strength and self-confidence to tackle challenging issues. Sadly, our society encourages dependence on others, conditioning people to believe they are incapable of handling problems without spending thousands of dollars on lawyer’s fees. Part One focuses on maximizing negotiation skills. Anyone can negotiate successfully, not just attorneys. In some instances, not thinking like a lawyer can be more beneficial. We address the numerous advantages of effective negotiation such as health and happiness, goodwill and reputation, and the obvious financial reasons. We stress the importance of humanity and listening to your opponent, often easier for non-lawyers. Thorough preparation is an equalizing factor. We finish this section by addressing when to hold your position, when to walk away, and when to call a lawyer for help.
Part Two focuses on pursuing claims and knowing your rights. This section discusses clerical matters, how to handle collections claims, the litigation process, which real estate and family law cases you can pursue on your own, and insurance and property claims. We detail how to resolve commonplace matters such as disputing a parking ticket or a cable bill as well as more complex matters such as buying or selling a home, obtaining child support orders, drafting simple wills, and self-representation in no-fault divorce cases. We introduce the fundamentals of litigation. This chapter also discusses dealing with law enforcement, including an overview of your Miranda Rights, the Fourth Amendment, and routine car stops and searches. Every person should know these important rights to prevent encroachment by the police.
The final section examines when hiring an attorney is necessary and how to proceed in those instances. Significant injury cases, criminal cases, complex family law cases, and estate planning cases involving large sums of money should not be handled independently given the high stakes. In cases like these, ignoring a formality, an improper filing, or even an innocent mistake can be fatal. It is instructive to appreciate the characteristics of good lawyers, such as self-esteem, preparation and resiliency.
Empower yourself with positive thoughts and possibilities and you will unleash your lawyer within!