Abraham Lincoln is widely credited with a quote that goes a thing like this: “A man who represents himself has a fool for a customer.”

Regardless of that sage suggestions, a expanding quantity of people across Indiana are exhibiting up in courtroom each individual day to depict themselves. That development is driven by any range of factors — not the least of which is what some see as the prohibitive price of legal services.

There is certainly “a huge demand” for cost-free or minimal-value legal services in the civil arena, said Chuck Dunlap, President & CEO of the Indiana Bar Basis, which operates the instruction and referral web page IndianaLegalHelp.org. The site experienced extra than 275,000 site visitors last yr.

“And a great deal of folks,” he said, “do not know that they require authorized assist.”

The self illustration Lincoln warned against is known as “Pro Se,” which is Latin for a thing alongside the traces of in one’s individual behalf. The tactic is most common in non-legal disputes about things this sort of as funds, contracts, housing and family matters.

Hoosiers have a variety of places to turn for free and low-cost legal advice and assistance with civil matters involving issues such as housing, contracts and family law.

As opposed to legal proceedings where a judge can frequently assign a community defender for individuals who are unable to manage an attorney, in civil cases there’s no assure of legal illustration. Not even for all those who definitely cannot afford to pay for to employ a lawyer.

But that will not necessarily mean you have to go into court without having authorized help — or, as Lincoln implied, being a foolish consumer. A assortment of cost-free or very low-cost authorized solutions are out there to Hoosiers. In some circumstances, that assistance may be limited to answering thoughts or suggestions but some resources can also support you in court docket.