Sonja here. Glad you made it!
I wonder if you’ve noticed that real court is different from the way it’s portrayed on TV.
In Judge Judy’s courtroom, we see plaintiffs explain the facts from their perspective and ask the court for justice. The defendant does the same, and Judge Judy applies the law.
As you probably know by now, real court doesn’t work that way.
Not made for TV
In real court, you tell the judge in writing what you think should happen at every stage of the case. You file mounds and mounds of legal motions to set the stage for trial. But let’s face it. The courts are biased against pro se litigants. They don’t expect us to do well at this.
Judges and court clerks see dozens of badly written filings from lawyers each week. They expect even less from pro se filings, so many of ours don’t even get read. Unless your motion makes a powerful first impression, you can expect it to be automatically denied, or to arrive at a hearing with no one having read your argument.
Legal style matters. Many judges believe the way your document is organized and formatted tells them whether you can make a legal argument. It’s silly but a judge once told me, “I know you know what you’re talking about,” simply because my motion had attractive formatting and a Comes Now and a Wherefore in the right places.
The Documents tool in Courtroom5 is designed to structure your motions and pleadings so your main points are emphasized and organized logically. You can select from dozens of common document templates, and enter the suggested information in each section.
Answering a complaint? Check. Requesting discovery? Check. Dealing with summary judgment? Check. And much more.
When you’re done drafting your document, your caption and arguments are formatted perfectly. A certificate of service is automatically attached to each document. Simply print the PDF, sign and file!
Laying down the law
A surefire way to get a judge to read your filing is to cite case law. When a judge scans your filing and sees a relevant case citation, they’ll stop and read. They can’t help it. That’s good for you!
So in real court, besides filing proper legal documents, you support your motions with statutes, cases, rules of civil procedure and other legal authorities. If you don’t cite to legal authorities, your motion gets treated like a personal opinion. It doesn’t really “move” the court in your direction.
How do you find the legal authorities you need?
The Law tool in Courtroom5 uses an embedded case law database to help you find and capture the legal authorities needed to support your arguments. So when you’re ready to craft your next motion, the legal citations and language you need — and the points they help you argue — can be dropped right in.
The devil in the filing cabinet
Let’s say you’ve survived the initial flurry of motions. You’re now several months into the case — preparing for the next volley — maybe sending some discovery requests.
You want to review the order of filings or study them for clues. But where is that complaint? Or maybe what you’re looking for is in that motion to dismiss. Where did you place your files, and how have you organized them?
Suppose you’re in a hearing and the opposing lawyer misstates a fact or changes his position on something. (Funny how often that happens.) But you know they filed something different just a few weeks ago!
Unfortunately, that filing is somewhere in your stack of papers at home. Paper copies and cardboard boxes are so 20th century. Nowadays, you’ll want to access your filings online at any time, even in court.
With the Filings tool in Courtroom5, you upload a copy of your motions and pleadings as soon as you file them in court, or whenever a service copy arrives from the other side. That way, your entire case file is always just a few keystrokes away on your laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Never get caught without that filing again.
We’ve thought of everything
There are also tools for scheduling tasks and setting reminders, organizing your evidence, managing your expenses, and keeping up with all the messy details involved in litigation.
There’s also a selection of comprehensive litigation courses arranged in bite-sized video lessons, and a growing pro se community ready to support you.
Turn the court’s bias in your favor by showing up with your ducks in a row.
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