Frequently Asked Questions

Under the law, all adults have the right to represent themselves. If you act on your own behalf in court, the court will describe you as "pro se" or "self represented." You should be aware that it is often difficult to represent yourself. If you are not advised by an attorney having the depth of knowledge and experience in handling your specific type of legal matter, you may unknowingly risk some important legal rights. If you represent yourself, avoid non-lawyers who offer assistance in drafting legal documents or standardized forms for a fee. The State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) has free, state-approved standardized court forms available online. The SCAO website also has information about mediation and dispute resolution options that may help you avoid going to court. For more information on self help, visit this self-help resources page

In Michigan, the only individuals who can draft legal documents for other people or give legal advice are lawyers licensed to practice law in Michigan. Beware of non-lawyer individuals or companies that draft legal documents for a fee, including divorce, bankruptcy, and estate planning documents such as wills and trusts. Any non-lawyer who drafts legal documents, gives legal advice, or gives the impression that they are an attorney when they are not may be guilty of the unauthorized practice of law. Click here to view the list of individuals and companies that have been found to have engaged in the unauthorized practice of law as well as more information about how to avoid being victimized by these companies and individuals.

Click here to obtain a form to submit your complaint. You will be asked to provide dates, specific facts regarding what happened, and copies of documents, including documents confirming any payments you made for the unauthorized legal services.

The State Bar of Michigan Lawyer Referral Service is designed to assist members of the public who want to hire an attorney and can afford to pay for legal services. You may dial (800) 968-0738 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, to speak with a lay navigator or submit an online referral request.

The Client Protection Fund of the State Bar of Michigan may reimburse, up to a certain limit, individuals who have been victimized by the intentional wrongful conduct of a licensed Michigan attorney with whom they had an attorney client relationship.

The Attorney Grievance Commission (AGC) investigates and prosecutes allegations of attorney misconduct. The AGC serves to maintain and promote the integrity of the Bar and to protect the public, the courts, and the legal profession. The AGC has jurisdiction over all attorneys licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Michigan and attorneys otherwise permitted to practice law in the State of Michigan. Anyone may file a request for investigation against a Michigan lawyer.

Attorney Grievance Commission
Buhl Building
535 Griswold, Ste 1700
Detroit, MI 48226
Phone: (313) 961-6585

The Judicial Tenure Commission investigates and prosecutes complaints against Michigan judges. The Judicial Tenure Commission serves to promote the integrity of the judicial process and preserve public confidence in the courts. Anyone may file a request for investigation against a Michigan judge.

Judicial Tenure Commission
3034 W Grand Blvd Ste 8-450
Detroit, MI 48202
Phone: (313) 875-5110

Legal Guides

Our legal guides are written by Michigan lawyers as a public service and provide general legal information and FAQs on a variety of topics. The information provided is not an exhaustive resource. As changes frequently occur in the law, self-represented persons may wish to do additional research or use the State Bar free online directory to schedule a lawyer consultation.​

Guide to Hiring a Lawyer

Use this guide to help determine when you need a lawyer, how to find a lawyer, and what to expect when hiring a lawyer.

Handbook of Legal Terms

Use this handbook  to find clear, easy-to-understand definitions of legal terms. (Michigan Judicial Institute)

Immigrant Service Providers

This resource contains information about organizations throughout Michigan that provide services to immigrants.

Crime & Immigration Status

This guide provides individuals with criminal records with information about how to overcome reentry issues.

Probate Help from the Probate & Estate Planning Section

Guardianship for Adults Who Become Disabled

This guide explains Michigan guardianship for a formerly competent adult who loses the ability to take care of him or herself. 

Conservatorship for Adults Who Become Disabled

This guide explains Michigan conservatorship for a formerly competent adult who loses the ability to take care of him or herself. 

Naming Someone to Make Medical Decisions

This guide explains how a patient advocate can make decisions for your care, custody, and medical treatment when you cannot.

Durable Power of Attorney

This guide explains how to name an agent through a durable power of attorney to have authority to make decisions for you when you are unable to make your own financial decisions.

Probate and Estate Administration

This guide explains the steps needed to administer an estate following a death. 

Real Property Help from the Real Property Law Section

Landlord Tenant: Security Deposits

This guide explains landlord and tenant requirements and obligations for security deposits.

Landlord Tenant: Unlawful Eviction & Utility Access

This guide explains when a landlord can and cannot evict a tenant and provides information about utility shutoff.

Landlord Tenant: Property Maintenance & Repairs

This resource contains information about what to do if a landlord is not maintaining the rental property.

Landlord Tenant: Mobile Home Park Tenants Eviction

This guide explains the rules concerning mobile home park evictions and the tenant's rights and obligations.

Land Contract Sales

This guide explains land contract agreements and the rules and obligations of both buyer and seller.

Purchase & Sale of a Home

This guide explains the steps involved in purchasing and selling a home, from purchase agreement through closing. 

Mortgage Foreclosures

This guide provides an overview of mortgage foreclosure on residential property.

Reverse Mortgages

This guide explains reverse mortgages and obtaining money by borrowing against the equity in a home.