As annoying is the fees
may be, I would stick with an attorney. This is exactly the kind of situation where advice of expert counsel is both important and necessary. You may try to find a more reasonably priced attorney, however. Weigh the cost of the attorney against the cost of losing your boat. Do not assume
that you will be able to proceed pro se successfully, even with some advice. I've seen scams like this and it's amazing how quickly they find some crackpot and lawyer up and screw you over as soon as they see you appear without a lawyer. Some of the members of the profession make me sick.
Note also that you cannot have a law student or anyone else (e.g., a paralegal) not admitted to the WA bar do this work for you
(it is illegal for them to do so -- called the unauthorized practice of law -- and the law student could get permanently barred from ever practicing). Let me repeat: the unauthorized practice of law is a crime in Washington
. You cannot even have them help you for free. Heck, if I'm admitted in New York
I couldn't even do it for you in WA!
I would also, this week immediately, ask your attorney what he thinks about reaching out to Dan Satterberg's office. Satterberg is a fine county PA, and he's got a specific interest in fraud crimes like this one. I wouldn't be as concerned for your safety
as you make out -- once the PA gets involved the police start to become interested in protecting you.
NOTE: while I live in Seattle
and have passed the bar in New York
, I am not
admitted to practice in the State of Washington