Many states allow lawyers to represent clients in small claims court, although some states do not. Even in states that allow lawyers, however, the amount of money at stake often doesn't justify paying a lawyer's legal fees. It may be cost-effective, though, to hire a lawyer to give you advice only. If you are worried about some legal aspect of your case and can't get an answer from the court clerk or by doing your own research (see Chapter 25), it might make sense to discuss the problem with a lawyer. It should not cost more than $100-$200 for a short consultation. Make sure you negotiate the fee in advance.
It's perfectly proper to get assistance from a lawyer. A lawyer can be extremely helpful in preparing your case, especially if it's complicated.