According to the New York Times, the number of people representing themselves during the recession is way up, and that can cause problems:
Judges complain that people miss deadlines, fail to bring the right documents or evidence and are simply unprepared for legal proceedings. Such mistakes make it more likely they will fare poorly — no matter the merit of their cases.
If courts are unfamiliar territory for most people, lawyers are the tour guides. At the very least, it makes sense to get advice from a lawyer — and maybe get help preparing documents — before representing yourself. Look for lawyers who offer “unbundled services,” meaning they will do just what you want, without being your full-time lawyer.
Going with unbundled services can be a great way to control costs if you are willing and able to do most of the work yourself.
In a Downturn, More Act as Their Own Lawyers | NY Times