HOW TO BE YOUR OWN LAWYER (SOMETIMES) by Walter L. & Howard Eisenberg Kantrowitz

HOW TO BE YOUR OWN LAWYER (SOMETIMES)

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The popular feeling behind the Bard's fervent instruction to Jack Cade (""let's kill all the lawyers"") is still with us, judging from recent pronouncements by the President and even the Chief Justice. Surely an easygoing guide is needed to make the mysterious activities of the average practitioner accessible, while translating into English the various documents he flourishes. The present text is a straightforward, generally successful attempt by lawyer Kantrowitz. (It's written in the first person singular, his neighbor and collaborator is obligingly self-effacing.) Want to sue someone, draw your will, buy a house, start a business or go bankrupt, all without benefit of a legal adviser? Genial counsel Kantrowitz offers guidance, joined with reams of sample forms. Make an arrest or be arrested, change your name or change your spouse, all pro se (i.e., without a legal bill)? Get some help from your local legal stationer and friendly court staffers. No striped-pants Wall Street legalistics, but the yard-goods of real estate brokers and insurance agents--very much the sort of thing you'd get over cocktails with a garrulous attorney. There are lapses. The tax treatment of alimony and child support is weak, for example. Reciprocal wills are recommended without discussion of common disaster clauses. There's just a slight odor of self-aggrandizement. And ""crossing the bar"" is not equivalent to ""passing the bar."" Ironically, the most useful portion of the work may be that which advises when and how to hire a real lawyer. While the book won't meet the standards of the organized bar, it's not quite the threat they will owlishly claim it to be. May it please the court, res ipsa loquitur applies as well as caveat emptor.

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1978
Publisher: Putnam