Representing Yourself

Q: Do I really need a lawyer?
A: Not necessarily.

A lawyer’s job is to answer questions and help facilitate the legal process in a way that will serve his or her client’s best interests. Lawyers can be incredibly helpful, especially in cases that last for a long time and/or involve issues of significance. Still, not everyone feels they need help with every component of the legal system. While hiring a lawyer may seem unnecessary, representing yourself can be frustrating and confusing when you do not understand the process. This becomes especially difficult when important issues are involved, like money or child custody. Even if you do not have the need or resources to hire a lawyer, you may still feel that you would greatly benefit from ongoing legal advice in some capacity.

Jane Doe offers what is called “limited scope representation” on a case-by-case basis. Limited scope representation allows you to work with your lawyer to determine what you need their help with and what you can handle on your own. You then proceed with your case on your own and schedule periodic coaching sessions with your lawyer as you need them. During these coaching sessions, you can ask questions, review paperwork, develop a strategy, and do whatever else you need to represent yourself confidently and competently.

Through limited scope representation, you maintain more control and ownership over your case without losing the benefit of a lawyer’s advice. You also generally spend less money on limited scope representation since you are doing a portion of the work yourself.

We recommend clients opt for limited scope representation if the following situations apply:

  • You feel confident and able to stand up in court and speak to the judge
  • You have time to dedicate to learning the rules and preparing your case
  • You are able to have a cordial conversation with the other party or their lawyer
  • Your case will last for less than 6 months and require less than 3 court appearances
  • You are going to court for an order of protection

By creating a balance between a lawyer’s traditional role of handling every aspect of a case and completely representing yourself without any legal assistance, limited scope representation allows you to work with a lawyer in a way that is comfortable and financially feasible for you.


If you have been impacted by sexual violence and want to speak with a Jane Doe lawyer, please call 314.329.5339. Or, to schedule a safe time for an attorney to call you, please click here to visit our online scheduler.