The best thing about writing this blog is that it helps us learn how to win in court.
We’ve spent a lot more time in court than most other non-lawyers, but that doesn’t make us experts.
We learn something new with each blog post, and we love sharing what we learn with our readers.
In no particular order, let’s recap our top 12 posts for 2016:
- The average state ranked 48% on services to self-represented litigants in this year’s Justice Index. How do we protect ourselves in a judicial system built for lawyers, when access to justice is like winning the lottery?
- Litigation sometimes feels like a military campaign without the blood and gore. Like any good general, you must know how to find the strengths and weaknesses in your case at all times. Then you can play to your strengths, shield your weaknesses, and get the best result.
- We warned you to beware of form over substance in representing yourself. Online forms and those you find at the courthouse are not always your friends. They’re designed to help the courts move your case along faster, nothing else.
- If you know nothing else about your case, know the elements of all the claims and defenses. Elements are everything in litigation.
- What oh what to do when your judge makes a ruling that effectively kills your case before it gets to trial? Consider the interlocutory appeal — what, why and how.
- Knowing your options is the biggest hurdle in litigation, like whether to assert various defenses to a complaint. But you can’t assert something when you’ve never heard of it, right? Take, for example, the affirmative defense of laches.
- In most states, getting help from a lawyer no longer means handing over your case and your bank account to an attorney. But to get your money’s worth, you should know how to hire a lawyer when you represent yourself.
- Brian Vukadinovich is not a lawyer but he plays one in court. You’ll love the story of this pro se litigant’s victory over his former employer, especially the stinging rebuke in the judge’s final order.
- We think we know how to handle our cases. How hard can it be to look up a statute and draft a motion, right? But the hard truth is that most of us have no business going to court because we haven’t prepared ourselves to win. Why do pro se litigants lose so often?
- “I’m not well but thanks for asking.” Your losing case is calling to ask a few favors of you, that is if you want to start winning.
- We spend a lot of time watching pro se litigants in court, enough to classify us based on levels of aptitude and skill. What kind of pro se litigant are you?
- Litigation is no game, but going on the pro se litigant’s scavenger hunt shows you the tools you’ll need to collect to be successful on your adventure.
We hope you find something here that lifts you up on your case. If so, please share in the comments below.
From Debra, Sonja and the team at Burlington Avenue, Happy New Year!