Of course, you can go pro se. You want peace of mind.
Try legal clinics at local law schools. You deal with law students but they are supervised by very competent seasoned practitioners. I have the same problem and I get special courtesy treatment. People need legal services.
I worked for a large Wall St. law firm. The clients think nothing of retaining a lawyer at the drop of a hat. I understand what the lawyers are saying. This is the chief problem with the legal system. It should not be available only to the wealthy. I could not afford myself! It is a long shot but try legal services for the poor.
Also, try FindLaw and do it yourself. I would be wary of anyone with a stake in the outcome.
I really feel for you. Afterthought–try a lawyer who has just graduated from a mediocre law school. They are still bright. They may actually have more expertise than someone from a national law school. I will ponder your problem. Let me know what happens.
Not to get off the subject, but I suggest finding someone who “passed the bar.” Law school education from any accredited school has a core of information that is the same nationwide and distinguished mostly by the state in which the school is located. Thus, the “mediocre” v “national” comment isn’t, in my opinion, the best distinguishing characteristic (if valid at all). I say this only to keep you from wasting time trying to distinguish what makes a “national” law school.
I agree, legal clinics are a possible option, but legal clinics vary and specialize in only certain types of claims. Don’t expect that any one school’s clinic with take your claim.
Let me also suggest that you consider contacting your state Attorney General’s Office. Knowing who you can validly sue or defend yourself from is half the battle. You never know; you may not be the only one experiencing this from this company.
You may also try a mid-size personal injury firm. Often, you can get a free consultation and pay a percentage of your recovery (a contingency fee) after the case is settled. Very rarely do these or most cases ever make it to trial.
My heart goes out to you. Just don’t take it laying down. Be willing to let them know you’ll fight the battle to the end. Remember, the resources they would spend trying to fight you (one person) may not be worth their time or money in the end. Again, only 3% of all cases make it to trial, so settlement is a good expectation to have.