There's an old saying that a man who represents himself has a fool for a client. Usually, that's associated with a non-professional trying to present a case with no training or legal experience. However, that also goes for practising lawyers no matter how stellar their history or knowledge. Even among many St. Louis top law firms, counsel will get their own counsel when they're on the other side of the law.
Sometimes You Need a Little Objectivity
Lawyers have a reputation for being passionate but objective when preparing or arguing a case. That ability to remove emotion from the equation allows them to focus on the facts and legal strategies that win cases. Lawyers have to be able to look at each sides of the issue, both to build a strategy and to anticipate what the other side.
Most layers act with the highest standards, but all lawyers are human. It's much more difficult to distance yourself when it's your own future or freedom on the line. An objective attorney may also see details that someone directly involved in the case would miss.
Not All Practice Areas Are the Same
An attorney may have a wide range of general legal knowledge, but few move beyond their own practice area. A criminal lawyer may not know all of the applicable guidelines in a real estate transaction, and a personal injury layer may not necessarily know how to present the defense in a criminal trial. You may not be familiar with filing procedures or protocols for cases outside of your practice area. No matter your profession, you should choose the best lawyer for the case, even if it isn't yourself.
Ethics Play a Part
Some jurisdictions have written guidelines regarding self-representation in matters where ethics are involved. Obtaining outside counsel is encouraged to prevent conflicts of interest in cases of malpractice, disciplinary action and some business matters. Although lawyers are not legally prevented from representing themselves in such cases, they are required to fully disclose any personal interest or advantage in the case and obtain a waiver agreed to by opposing counsel and the presiding judge.
Lawyers successfully represent themselves all the time. You may be fine drawing up a contract or going into court over a traffic violation. But, some types of cases require you to sit back and let a colleague look out for your interests. When the stakes are high, even lawyers get a lawyer.