About 10 percent or so of bankruptcy cases filed in Colorado are filed without an attorney. Aside from the fact that many of these people will unnecessarily lose property or tax refunds, the court record shows they are putting their financial circumstances in future peril.

On one judge’s calendar this week, there were multiple pro se (without attorney) debtors actually trying to get reaffirmation agreements approved by the judge. Reaffirmation agreements are a promise to repay a debt after bankruptcy. Good legal counsel would have guided these people away from the mistaken impression that a reaffirmation agreement is required to keep their property. Now, on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars post-bankruptcy in some instances, these debtors will suffer a catastrophic event if they become disabled or unemployed (worse case) or are paying back debts for used furniture unnecessarily (best case) costing them thousands of dollars.

This is just one of many examples of what happens with self-help legal services. Hiring a licensed legal expert pays for itself many times over.