Pro se is Latin for ‘for oneself’ thus literally meaning ‘on behalf of oneself’. Unlike criminal cases where the government appoints legal representation for those who can’t afford a lawyer, parties in civil cases don’t have that privilege. Thus, if you go pro se, be prepared to see it to completion.
Appearing before a judge is one of the biggest challenges for pro se litigants. The judge has the power to kill your case or let it live another day. So, your nerves are taut. You’re not used to this kind of pressure. You’re not a lawyer! How do you get through a hearing? If you follow these tips, court hearings may not be a snap, but they won’t be a mess either.
Feeling vulnerable is something you never quite get used to as a pro se litigant, even though it happens every time you represent yourself in court. There are really only two ways to handle it. You overcompensate for your lack of confidence with a false bravado that ultimately drains your power. Or you acknowledge your vulnerability and develop an authentic confidence that makes you stronger in court.