We love it when the bell rings.
It’s a peculiar sound, something between a doorbell and a buzzer, that lets us know a pro se litigant visiting Courtroom5’s website has a question.
We’re in business to help those who help themselves in court, so it’s always a pleasure to stop what we’re doing to take a question.
The questions come in all shapes and sizes, from the definition of a legal term (“res judicata” or “relation back”) to truly heart-wrenching stories we can’t do much about.
Here’s a sample from the last few days:
- A lawyer for the other side has filed for summary judgment. Can I have it dismissed?
- I filed my complaint and haven’t heard back. I mailed and faxed the complaint three weeks ago. What should I do?
- I just found out about a case against me and a default judgment. What do I do?
- I received an order on a motion to dismiss, which was granted with prejudice. Can I file a motion to reconsider this order?
- What is judicial notice, and can it be used in opposition to summary judgment?
- I have a hearing on a motion to vacate. How do I prepare an oral argument?
- How do I file a motion to compel to get my son to sign over a deed?
- How do you deal with attorney and judge corruption and perjury going on within a case?
- Child protective services has given permission to a doctor to allow my children to be put on medication. How can I stop this?
- Can the doctrine of laches limit the length of time for recovery? For instance, if payments have been missed for 4 years and the analogous statute of limitations is 2 years, and the case was brought within a year of the final missed payment, can recovery be limited to 2 years of missed payments or extended to the full 4?
Other times, we lend a sympathetic ear as someone unloads on a judge or opposing lawyer. We’ve all heard it so many times, and we’ve experienced it ourselves. We know how it feels to get screwed in court.
Most often though, we engage pro se litigants who struggle just to ask the right questions. These are average people — sometimes well educated people — who find themselves fighting lawyers in a system built for lawyers.
They need help understanding what’s happening because no one in the system is willing to stop and explain things to them.
Of course, these are questions asked by pro se litigants who aren’t yet members of Courtroom5. Our members don’t have questions like these because it’s our business to ensure they’re capable of answering them for themselves.
When you join Courtroom5, you’re automagically ushered through a tour of the platform — at your own pace — that’s hands on and practical but also educational at its core. Part of the tour includes a short course on the stages of litigation and what’s important (and not important) at each stage. So in as little as two hours, you come out a lot smarter about litigation than when you started.
That’s when the fun begins. When you understand the process of litigation better than our live-chat questioners, you make intelligent use of our document templates, legal research and other tools. You take advanced courses that help you strut your stuff in a courtroom. And you get serious feedback on your moves from experienced members of our community, who frankly wouldn’t bother to answer questions from those less prepared.
That’s okay with us. We’re paid to take questions from anyone with a civil case they’re handling alone, and a little time to visit and chat with us. Hope you’ll come by soon.
If you’ve been representing yourself for awhile, you’re probably doing just fine. But isn’t it time you took a Courtroom5 membership for a spin?
One thing I know for sure — it’ll make you better in court.