I completely and totally understand this. I hear it a lot that a potential client cannot afford an attorney. However, sometimes you just cannot afford to not hire one. For example, this week I mediated a case for two people who represented themselves. The issue, one of the parties had obviously consulted with an attorney and knew the issues the other person had. The other person filed their case in the wrong court. As a result, if it went to trial, they would not prevail because that Judge has no authority to award anything in that case.
Even when you cannot afford to hire an attorney, an initial consultation may have helped the party in the example above. At least then the party would have known what needed to be filed and in what court. If that person had known perhaps they would have received something in mediation or, if it did not settle in mediation, would have a chance at recovering something in Court.
So even if you cannot afford to hire an attorney, at least schedule a consult with one. At least get some idea of what you can or cannot do and how that would be accomplished.