At Courtroom5, we operate on a simple creed:
The courts belong to the people — in particular the people who use them — and we the people are coming to claim our courts.
The Courts Belong to the People
All the studies reach the same conclusion — failure is the norm when you go to court without a lawyer.
A Justice Department study found that pro se litigants in immigration appeals were successful 10% of the time, compared to a 40% success rate for those represented by pro bono attorneys.
In another study, people needing protective orders were successful in getting them 83% of the time when represented by counsel, while those without lawyers got them at a rate of only 32%.
In some state eviction courts, unrepresented tenants were found to almost never prevail against landlords, whether the landlord had a lawyer or not.
Whether plaintiff or defendant, our right to petition government and to represent ourselves in court is recognized in the U.S. Constitution. But our rights are blocked by a maze of technical legal procedures that average people can’t understand without years of experience in the courts.
We have the right to appear pro se (“for ourselves”) in every court in the land, but most of us find the process so intimidating that we either don’t show up or come to court unprepared. While non-appearance results in a loss through default, ineffective appearance is just a slower, more painful loss.
Even when pro se litigants come prepared for court, judges often patronize us (at best) or ignore us (at worst). We are tolerated long enough for the barest appearance of due process, then tossed aside by opposing counsel and a complicit judge who act like old college roommates.
The Courts Belong to Those Who Use Them
A lawsuit is no fun, especially when your opponent has a lawyer and you don’t. Unrepresented people lose their cases mostly on procedure, not facts or law.
In fact, blending civil procedure, case law and legal arguments into a winning recipe is something lawyers spend years in graduate school to learn. So when you’re inclined and can afford one, hire an attorney.
For the rest of us, those who represent ourselves, let these resources give you a leg up on your case:
- Get a quick overview of the civil litigation process.
- View and download the most common motion and pleading templates.
- Explore state and federal statutes, cases, rules and other authorities on our curated list of legal sources.
The more prepared you are for court, the stronger your arguments. The stronger your arguments, the more respect attorneys and judges must give you.
The more respect you command in court, the better your chances of winning, buying time, or negotiating a favorable settlement.
Our commitment is to provide you the tools to get that respect. You are your best advocate, and we can help you shine.
We Are Coming to Claim Our Courts
Courtroom5 gives meaning to our right to represent ourselves by preparing self-represented litigants to be effective in court.
At Courtroom5, we pledge to support the principles of access to justice in all our activities.
In particular, we create and deliver information technologies that empower regular people to assert their rights at all levels of U.S. civil courts. We use our assets — intellectual property, technologies and reputation — to support the rights of self-represented litigants.
We promote access to justice both in public and within the legal profession.
We are committed to ensuring access to justice for everyone in court without a lawyer. Our members take a simple pledge:
- We commit to using civil procedure to make the right moves in court.
- We commit to learning legal research so we can support our positions with solid legal authorities.
- We commit to studying and practicing the art of legal argument, both in writing and in person.
- We commit to advocating our cases with confidence, as though the courts belonged to us.
- We commit to collective action, supporting other self-represented litigants to ensure access to justice for all.
As a result, our members are armed with effective litigation strategies and the ability to demand justice. We do battle in the courts like the outcomes matter to us.
Use Courtroom5 to put your best foot forward in court. Sign up now!