The crumbling economy has created waves of bankruptcy, foreclosures, and a cash-flow crunch for many consumers. According to at least one article, more and more individuals are using law libraries to represent themselves Pro Se. Does that translate to less potential clients?
Some practice areas are hit harder than others
According to the article, the majority of people using law libraries are seeking information on family law issues. I do not practice family law, so I have no perception of how this has affected the number of potential family law clients. Bankruptcy, on the other hand, appears to be a booming practice area. Although one can assume that eventually the demand for bankruptcy will drop.
Information does not equate with representation
I have talked with more then one client who started out by using the law library, or another free resource for legal help, and still ended up hiring us. Just because an individual gets the keys to a Ferrari does not mean they know how to drive it. Same thing with legal research–many individuals can do the proper research, but cannot put together the proper argument. Individuals still may need a lawyer to present their argument, or to guide them on their case.
Do pro se litigants win?
Pro se litigants may have a difficult time proceeding on their own. I do not have access to any statistics, but my gut feeling is that pro se litigants are more likely to lose then individuals with representation.
As more and more pro se litigants flood the courtrooms, however, judicial administration may have to adapt to make it even easier for people to handle their own cases. If more and more people are in the courts, cases will have to become more efficient, which could involve creating even more free resources for pro se litigants, and making it easier for individuals to represent themselves.