Can I Do This Without a Lawyer?

The short answer is…..sure!

You can also give yourself gall bladder surgery if you really want to.  But, it certainly isn’t recommended.

In all seriousness, this is a question that gets asked very often and for good reason.  It is not easy to put your life in the hands of a stranger.  It’s even harder to cut a check for a substantial retainer fee.  However, before you start googling “how to be my own lawyer,” keep the following things in mind.

1. You probably haven’t done this before, but that lawyer definitely has.

Proper procedure and demeanor in the courtroom is an acquired skillset that you cannot acquire overnight.  It is important to know the “little things” about the opposing attorneys and the judges.  Lawyers, on top of having a strong knowledge of the law, also have a strong knowledge of the people involved.  Keep in mind that, although your case seems “crazy” and is stressing you out to the max, that lawyer you talked to has probably seen it all before.  As the old parable says, when you fall into a hole, fall in with someone who knows the way out.

2. Stress Sucks.

Whether you are facing jail time, the loss of money, or the loss of your kids/spouse, it is probably the biggest event in your life, at least at that time.  Stress leads to bad decisions, especially when unguided. On top of all the consequences that you are facing, self-representation will also force you to conduct yourself as a lawyer and leave your emotion at the door.  That is easier said than done.  Lawyers are “all business.”  And, while they are sympathetic to your situation, they know that the court system is concerned with facts and law, not feelings.

3. What if I Screw Up?

Unfortunately, judges are not allowed to give you legal advice.  So, if they see you getting the “short end of the stick,” they really can’t do anything about it.  However, they certainly do get angry when you come back a few months later, realizing you messed up.  The judge wants you to have a lawyer.  It makes things easier on them, and you.

These are just a few reasons why hiring an attorney isn’t just recommended.  Most of time, it is essential.  So, swallow that pride and let “the pros” do their thing.

If this helped you make your decision, be sure to call us at (920) 965-8210

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The Fear of Talking to an Attorney

It’s not easy…..that’s for sure.  Very rarely do folks talk to an attorney for a positive reason.  We exist for the very opposite scenarios.  Chances are that most of your clients have a problem that is affecting them physically, emotionally, or financially (three areas of the utmost concern).  Coming to an attorney can be just as frightening as the problem itself.

It all comes down to the fear of the unknown.  Put yourself in the client’s head for just a moment.  Something unexpected and unwanted happened, now some dude or woman in a robe, who doesn’t know anyone involved, is going to make a decision that affects them for the rest of their lives.  On top of all that, they are going to participate in a system that they have no clue about, and they are going to do so in the hopes that they walk out financially stable, with their kids still at home, or even a free person!  Nothing new to us, right?

Make no mistake about it, this is the most stressful time of most client’s lives.

So, is it scary to talk to an attorney when these problems arise?  You better believe it is!

So often, I have clients tell me that they walk into big stuffy law offices where people look and talk down upon them and act as if they are the ones doing the hiring.   As a result, the client becomes more frightened, and begins to distrust the system even more than they did when they walked into that office.  After all, “if these are the folks fighting for me, how will I ever stand a change against those who are fighting against me?”

Now, if you are an attorney with a stuffy office and a “snooty” staff that makes clients feel uncomfortable, you might be offended by this entry.  Don’t be.  I absolutely realize that this is often the perception that clients get no matter how nice you are to them….but that is why it is very important to think about how you will be perceived in every form of presentation.

What is the difference between a client and an attorney?  That is a simple answer:  a piece of paper for which we paid thousands of dollars.  That’s it!  All too often, we as attorneys forget what it’s like to be in trouble.  Most of us have money in the bank, a successful business, and a picture-perfect family at home.  It is important to remember that we are the exception and not the norm.  At our core, we are problem solvers.  We are trained to take that which ails our client and do our best to fix it.  When we forget that, or begin to take clients for granted, it shows.

So, why am I on a soapbox right now?  Honestly, I want this profession to be better.  Learn and forget all you want on a daily basis, but don’t forget these four things:

1.  Where you came from

2.  YOU are the one giving service, not the other way around

3.  That client who doesn’t seem too “smart” or “classy” is probably smarter and classier than you are in certain situations.

4.  Talk to clients the way you would like to be talked to in times of stress (picture a cancer diagnosis with physician and how you would want that doctor to speak).

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Wisconsin: New OWI Laws to take effect on July 1st, 2010

Starting July 1st, 2010, the OWI laws in Wisconsin are changing.  Some changes benefit the defendant, but most do not.  Relevant changes include:

1.  An OWI 1st, currently not a criminal offense in Wisconsin, becomes a criminal offense if there is a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle at the time of the offense.

2.  Ignition Interlock Devices will now be required for all persons convicted of OWI 2nd or subsequent.  Previously, IID’s were left to the discretion of the Court for an OWI 2nd that occurred more than five years after the first.

3.  An OWI 4th is now a felony if it happens within five years of the 3rd.  Previously,all  OWI 4ths were misdemeanors.  This is the most serious change in the law.

4.  There are now minimum terms of imprisonment for OWI 4th (felony) and OWI 5th and subsequent.

These are just a few of the many changes that take effect in a few short weeks.  Schenk Law Firm, LLC has taken the time to learn and master these changes.  Our knowledge is your power.  Call us at (920) 965-8210.

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