I’m an energetic advocate of DIY Legal Research (as are most public law library librarians) and a somewhat less than enthusiastic advocate of DIY Lawyering (aka self-help, self-representation, pro se litigation, pro per representation), especially for people who don’t have any research experience or aptitude for hours of study, note-taking, writing, preparation, decision-making, and the sense to consult experts when necessary (not to mention having the patience of a cat watching its prey).
I’ve learned over the years that the most successful self-help litigant isn’t necessarily the smartest person, though “smart” can help. But persistence, attention to detail, listening, patience, and good manners can often win out over “smart.”
Our best pro se litigants consult attorneys. The litigants save money by thorough research, study, observation, taking chances and making mistakes, and not a small amount of luck. They also have lots of energy that is used staying up late drafting motions, answers, letters, and reading the law, in all its procedural and substantive glory.