In 2018, Courtroom5’s blog surpassed the 200th post mark. Throughout the year, we tackled a multitude of topics important to pro se litigants, including access to justice, judicial bias, motion writing, finding cases, and setting hearings. We’ve highlighted lawyer antics, discussed court costs, and helped you distinguish between different motions. Below, we highlight posts that you found useful and others that stood out for other reasons. They’re all posts you shouldn’t miss. So, enjoy reading–or re-reading–our best blog posts of 2018.
Earlier, we outlined a recipe for analyzing a case and creating a litigation strategy. The right litigation strategy can help a pro se litigant choose the next step in a case. In this second part, we use a simple slip and fall scenario to test the recipe. Thinking through your own scenario from beginning to end can be the start of a successful experience in court.
One of the major things that separate lawyers and other legal professionals from the average pro se litigant is legal writing. In fact, briefs, motions, memoranda, pleadings, and even notices are critical to success in litigation. In some cases, the bulk of communications with the judge is in writing. How you come across signals to the judge that you’re prepared for court and able to handle the legal issues involved in your case–or not. Check out the dos and don’ts of legal writing.
Three of five people in civil cases are there without a lawyer. Do they all want to be there alone? No, but most have no choice. There are though many good reasons to represent yourself in court. Below are our top 10.
You’ve struggled with proper wording and formatting of your motion, and you think you’ve done well. You go to the courthouse or online and file your motion. Unaware that there’s more to do, you simply stop there. You wait for an answer from your opponent or for the court to schedule a hearing. That’s not how things work in litigation. If your case is to move in the direction you desire, you must move it. That necessarily involves scheduling hearings on your motions.
Some might say hefty court fees and high judicial salaries are necessary to the smooth running of the courts. That explanation might be supportable if pro se litigants actually got the justice they pay for. Too often, once a pro se litigant plops down their filing and other court fees, high paid judges, particularly in the federal system, don’t give their cases the time they need. So, pro se litigants have to think hard about whether to pursue or appeal their cases.
You’ve been injured. Someone tarnished your good name, wrongfully wrecked your car, painted your house the wrong color, or gave you a haircut that makes you look like their dog and not yours. You need to sue. This list of 11 things to consider before doing that will help you get all your ducks in a row. Take off the kid gloves. You’re in litigation now.
So, what happens when you have a defendant who is difficult to find? You go through a process to hunt him down. That process is longer when the defendant is elusive, but if you do it right, you get a defendant who must answer or you get a default judgment. Either way works for you.
Lawyers opposing pro se litigants want it to be one way, but sometimes it’s the other way. Few things warm our hearts more than seeing pro se litigants handle bullying tactics from opposing counsel. A Courtroom5 member shared her experience of being bullied by her opponent’s lawyer. The clapback was strong. She made sure he won’t do it again, at least not to her.
The degree to which high court fees stop people from pursuing legitimate claims and defenses in court is not known. What is known is that filing and other fees are relatively high. While most people can handle simple one-time fees for documents or copying costs, filing and related fees might influence people’s decisions about going to court. That makes them an access to justice problem.