What does a Small Claims Lawyer do?

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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 13 July 2019
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A small claims lawyer specializes in representing litigants in a small claims lawsuit. In some instances, a small claims lawyer may also work as a small claims legal advisor. In doing so, an attorney may not actually represent a litigant in court, but will instead offer legal, procedural and professional advice to help guide a litigant who is representing herself or himself in court. Others may also work as a small claims mediator and mediate cases outside of the courtroom.

Often a small claims lawyer will work in a small claims law firm where clients come needing advice and guidance on particular cases. Outside of the office, this type of attorney may also be found representing a litigant in an appeals case. While a plaintiff does not have the right to appeal a small claims case, a small claims attorney may help a plaintiff prepare what is called a Motion to Reconsider. In cases where a defendant requests an appeal, however, a small claims attorney may also be called upon to represent either litigant before the court.

To become a small claims lawyer, one must first attend law school and obtain a law degree. Upon satisfactorily completing a degree, a person must also pass the bar exam in the state in which she or he will be practicing. After doing so, a lawyer can begin working in a small claims law firm or assist clients through private practice.


Small claims cases are classified as such because they do not involve disputes over large losses or large sums of money. In fact, in most cases, a litigant represents herself or himself in court while relying on the assistance of a small claims advisor. This being the case, the fees that a small claims lawyer typically charges are far less than what many attorneys specializing in another genre may charge for cases brought before civil or criminal courts. In specific appeal cases, however, a court may stipulate that a higher fee be paid to a small claims lawyer by a defendant if it is determined that a defendant filed an appeal for malicious reasons.

While a small claims lawyer often represents litigants in court, many do not. Many prefer to specialize in offering advice to self-representing litigants, while others may also prefer to work as a small claims mediator. As a mediator, a small claims lawyer will participate as a third party in hearing and weighing both sides of a case. While doing so, a mediating attorney will also attempt to help both parties effectively communicate with one another and agree upon a fair solution to their dispute.



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