WITHOUT A LAWYER by Stephen & Walter Szykitka Sarshik


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An ambitious, uneven survey of eleven disparate topics ranging from contracts, divorce, and forming a corporation, to bankruptcy and small claims court procedures. Some of the sections are glaringly bad--for one, that on divorce. In their introduction, Sarshik and Szykitka stress divorce as an area in which lawyers' involvement can increasingly be sidestepped, especially with the advent of state ""no fault"" divorce laws. But their discussion concentrates on definitions of grounds under the older, fault-oriented statutes; lists state-by-state statutory information no more recent than 1977; suggests that the reader buy a do-it-yourself divorce kit (why buy a book to learn you have to buy a kit?)--and finally says that you really should have a lawyer if the divorce will be contested, or if you have a house, substantial assets, or children. The discussion of forming a corporation, and business regulation in general, is both superficial and naive. Tax and accounting issues, in particular--inseparable from ""legal"" problems, even in a small business--are virtually ignored. On the plus side, the chapters on consumer credit, employment discrimination, and bankruptcy are concise explanations of rights and procedures--though at times the text seems little more than a rewriting of statutes in laypersons' terms. Overall, anyone who relies on this as a guide for handling any but the most inconsequential real-life legal problems is probably just the sort of person who should retain a lawyer for self-protection.

Pub Date: April 21st, 1980
Publisher: New American Library