Do I Have to Hire a Lawyer?
If you are sued individually (meaning it is you as a person named in the lawsuit and not your business) you have the right to represent yourself (this is called proceeding pro se). There are significant risks to this, because even a simple misunderstanding of the procedural rules can seriously disadvantage you, and without knowledge of the substantive law you may miss important defenses.
If your business is named in the suit, it must be represented by a licensed attorney in order to present any defenses or counterclaims in the lawsuit, and your business can be defaulted (meaning the court enters a judgment against it) if you do not have a lawyer to appear on its behalf.
Often if a small business is sued both the individual owner and the business are named, especially in wage and hour cases which allow for personal liability. In that case you don't usually need two different lawyers- the same attorney can represent you individually and your business.
Learn more here about what to expect as a defendant in a civil lawsuit.
Need Help Responding to a Civil Complaint?