Should you represent yourself in your debt collection lawsuit with Midland Funding, LLC? Many people who get sued by a debt collector often take up the battle alone – spending late nights scouring the internet hoping to find information that will help them win their case. But before you decide to take on this battle without the help of a lawyer, here are 5 things you should consider:
#1 – Do You Have Time to Put in the Work to Win?
When you step into a courtroom with a lawyer for Midland Funding, Portfolio Recovery, or what ever debt buyer you are facing, you are going up against a repeat player in this game – they have been there before. Not only that, but they are an attorney. This is what they do day in and day out. Think back to what you were doing several years ago. Do you know what Midland Funding’s attorney was likely doing then? Trying these exact cases probably in this exact courtroom.
From the outset you are at a severe disadvantage and it will take time and effort to bring yourself up to speed on the law, procedures, and then to actually draft the required documents. This often results in the case completely taking over all of your free time. The first thing you need to ask yourself is do I really have the time to handle this on my own and then ask yourself what is my free time worth?
#2 – Can You Afford to Hire a Lawyer?
As with most things the decision whether or not to hire a lawyer often comes down to money. Your lawyer is going to provide you with peace of mind, expertise, and you won’t have to deal with the day to day issues of your case. But this will come at a price.
My law firm charges a flat fee for debt buyer collection lawsuits with debt collectors like Midland Funding. As of the date of this article (February 27, 2014) I charge anywhere from $1,500 up to $3,500 (this may change depending on when you read this). If there is absolutely no way you can pay this then really the question of whether or not to hire a lawyer has already been answered for you.
But often times my clients will use tax refunds, retirements accounts, or help from family to pay the fees.
#3 – Can You Afford Not to Hire a Lawyer?
Depending on whether you are in Arizona’s justice court system or if the case was filed in Superior Court you could be facing a judgment of anywhere from a couple of thousand dollars up to $50,000 plus! If you lose your case with Midland Funding you are going to have a judgment against you. Once a judgment is entered Midland Funding will be able to start garnishing your wages and/or levying your bank account.
While hiring a lawyer is no guarantee that you will win your case, your chances improve dramatically by doing so. I mean no disrespect by saying what I am about to say, but based upon my experience over the last ten years, if you represent yourself in Arizona against one of the big debt buyers your chances of winning your case are very low. Again, in my experience your chances of winning are less than 10%.
With that in mind you need to think about the consequences of a judgment and how it would impact your life. Finding a way to hire counsel throughout this process may end up saving you thousands of dollars in the long run.
#4 – Do You Feel Comfortable With Speaking in Public?
When you represent yourself, you alone will be responsible for presenting your defense to the court. This means you will be the one presenting oral argument on a motion for summary judgment, presenting your opening statement at trial, conducting direct and cross examination of witnesses, and your closing argument. If you do a lot of public speaking and think well on your feet the experience may not be that intimidating.
If public speaking is not your strong suit then you want to think twice about acting as your own lawyer.
#5 – Do You Fully Understand Your Defenses?
When it comes to debt buyer cases there are many strong defenses that can help you to win your case. Most (if not all) of these defenses are very technical in nature in that they involve the Arizona Rules of Evidence and the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure. Without a solid understanding of these Rules presenting a winning defense will almost be impossible.
Even if you read up on the issues on the internet or watch some of the videos I have created on these topics, it is often different when you are actually there in the courtroom. It is similar to me and auto mechanics. My dad and my brother are auto mechanics. The run a very successful auto repair business in Utah. I did not inherit any of their skill and no matter how many times they tell and even show me how to fix my car, when it comes to me turning the wrenches it is hopeless.
I understand my limitations when it comes to fixing my car. Even though I want to fix it myself, it is not in my skill set. Similarly, reading about or watching videos about the practice of law can give some great information, but it doesn’t take the place of an experienced professional presenting your legal defense.
I Know – This Article is Really Self-Serving
I know it is. I fully understand that if you hire a lawyer, particularly me, I will get paid for that decision. However, my motivation in writing this article is to articulate some of the things you really need to think about before you jump into the courtroom. I meet with people every day that have tried to represent themselves in court and it has ended very, very badly for them.
Not only that, but often they are seeking me out to try and fix the problem – something that is difficult to do after the fact.