Importance of Professional Representation
While some people may choose self-representation over the cost of hiring a paralegal, all too often the self-represented make mistakes in the legal process that cost much more for a paralegal to unwind after the fact than if the matter was handled properly from the onset. Worse and sadly still, all too often those who self-represent 'shoot themselves in the foot' and lose what otherwise was a winning case. In many circumstances, those who self-represent in legal matters make minor errors that have major effects.
"He who represents himself has a fool for a client." ~ Abraham Lincoln
Unfortunately for many, it seems that television shows such as The People's Court or Judge Judy, provide the public with the false perception that handling legal matters is relatively straightforward and easy and especially so in the Small Claims Court or Landlord Tenant Board. As above, this false perception often results in extra-costs when the self-represented person finally realizes that professional help is needed and a lawyer or paralegal must spend considerable time and effort backtracking, if backtracking is even possible.
Before self-representing, get a professional opinion and advice. If you do decide to self-represent, you may find it worthwhile to retain a professional even if simply to only act as a part-time advisor to provide some hints and tips on concerns that you might otherwise be unaware of.