There are many ways that “Do It Yourself” could save you a lot of money and leave you with quite pleasant results. Refinishing an old dresser, picking up furniture at a garage sale for a few bucks and refinishing it to look fabulous in your home, making a fashion statement if you’re good with a needle and thread, this could also work for accessories around your home. What it doesn’t work for, is legal work.
There are websites and kits to make your own contracts and file your own legal documents for any number of things: separation, divorce, business contracts, wills and powers of attorney, being the most common ones.
First and foremost, no matter how much research one may do online, you will not learn as much about the law and how to protect yourself and your family as a trained lawyer. There is a reason why we spend many years in post-graduate school and spend tens of thousands of dollars getting educated. No book, kit or website can replace the advice of a lawyer.
I am a pretty smart educated person. I can read a book and understand it very well. I am more than capable of going to Chapters and buying a book about cars and how to fix them. But I am not about to take my life and the lives of those I love (not to mention those I don’t know) into my own hands by trying to fix my own car to save a few hundred or a few thousand bucks.
Likewise, you could be doing yourself, and/or your family a huge disservice by DIY your own legal work. If it was all really that simple, we wouldn’t need lawyers. In my practice, I have seen litigation caused by poorly drafted wills, poorly drafted separation agreements and poorly drafted powers of attorney. Even worse, if you have drafted your own documents but they are not properly executed, they may not be valid at all, giving you a false sense of security thinking that you are well protected, when you are in fact not protected at all.
This isn’t a sales pitch, but an effort to advise and educate. Arguably, we lawyers make more money cleaning up the messes that people make with their DIY. However my goal, is not to make the most money, but to ensure my clients are well served.
If that’s not reason enough, here’s an interesting article by Consumer Reports that explains whether or not the “Do it yourself” is a good value for legal work: http://consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2012/09/legal-diy-websites-are-no-match-for-a-pro/index.htm?inf_contact_key=e1d0c8a29621890bd9ffb7c3c91a22f5817b3f2e6cd5bb3a303e8abfb5c5046f
I promise not to do my own plumbing or fix my own car, so how about you leave the legal work to me, fair?