A recent guest post on Richard Zorza’s wonderful Access To Justice blog endorsed a strategy for building a legal self help center in every jurisdiction in the country within the next five years. Talk about a social revolution! Let me get this out of the way: I love Richard Zorza. I’ve never met him, never even corresponded […]
The NYU Law Review has a barn-burning speech from the chief judge of the state’s appellate bench, who sees the judiciary as the leader of the access to justice revolution (pdf). Judge Lippman is a tireless advocate of legal services for the poor. His work on reforming New York’s justice system is respected throughout the country.
We hate to see a pro se litigant pay the other side’s attorney fees. It doesn’t happen often because a decent judge will forgive the minor procedural slip-ups of a non-lawyer. But it does happen, and sometimes for good reason. In a recent federal case, M2 Tech, Inc. v. M2 Software, Inc., the pro se defendant (who’d earlier sued the other […]
When you reach the discovery stage of your case, the fun is just beginning. Now you get to evaluate your opponent’s evidence. Watch out for landmines though, like unanswered requests for admissions.
New models are needed to fund indigent civil defense. While the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to counsel when you’re arrested for a crime, there is no similar guarantee when you’re sued. You can be wrongfully impoverished by court order simply because you can’t afford a lawyer, and these days, there’s […]
The future of legal services cannot be left to lawyers. With all due respect to the profession, it was always designed to serve the upper crust and its corporations, and that mentality is baked into the cake. With the exception of the poorest and most desperate civil and criminal defendants, the rest of us have […]
Few people enjoy being in court, but sometimes you have to go there. Someone marked up your car and wouldn’t pay. You were punched in the nose for no reason. A company sued you for a debt. You’re facing bankruptcy or deportation. As the gap between the super wealthy and the rest of us grows, more and […]
Picture this: Two pro se litigants — let’s call them Able and May — were sued for foreclosure by JPMorgan Chase Bank. (Names have been changed to protect privacy.) Able and May attempted to depose a bank vice president who had verified a mortgage assignment before it was actually created, but the bank didn’t like that […]
Myths and uncertainty about the litigation process can be detrimental to parties involved in a lawsuit, especially those representing themselves. Reliance on myths, in fact, can lead to wasted time, avoidable losses and other headaches. The best cure for uncertainty is information, and the best cure for myths is truth. So, below is my list of myths that self-represented […]
Legal writing–crafting motions and pleadings–can be a lesson in frustration. Yet, as the only opportunity to speak to the judge, proper motions can be a case-saver for self-represented litigants. If you’re prepared to take on this challenge, here are a few pointers to get you started.