Although you cannot have an attorney represent you in the actual hearing, you can and should hire an attorney when there’s a lot of money on the line to help identify the type of dispute and you want or need help to focus on the relevant evidence you need to prepare the case for court and you are looking for someone to guide you through the process.
According to a recent survey by the California Judicial Council’s Administrative Office of the Courts, (AOC)the majority of those people surveyed stated that they had no prior experience in small claims matters.
Cited in the October 2012 publication of the AOC, ”Data Points,” the report states that:
“Lack of prior experience in small claims may have a number of important implications for litigants. For example, it may increase their difficulty identifying the type of dispute in which they are involved, make it harder to identify and collect relevant evidence and more generally prepare their cases for court, or even understand the specific requirements of effective participation in the courtroom hearing.”
You certainly don’t need an attorney for small claims matters but at his or her best, an attorney is a counselor at law who can and should help their clients understand the process and how to put their best foot forward.