In 2011, the Federal Judicial Conference surveyed federal court clerks offices regarding pro se issues. They found that only 17 of 62 responding judges report that discovery is taken in most non prisoner pro se cases and only 13 reported that discovery is taken in most prisoner pro se cases.[16]:21 In the same survey, 37% of judges found that most pro ses had problems examining witnesses, while 30% found that pro ses had no or few problems examining witnesses.[16]:22 53% found that represented parties sometimes or frequently take advantage of pro se parties.[16]:23 Only 5% reported problems of pro ses behaving inappropriately at hearings.[16]:24 Respondents to the FJC study did not report any orders against non prisoner pro se litigation.[16]


The cost of providing attorneys for everyone who needs but cannot afford one would be huge. Providing just one hour of legal services to each person unable to afford it would cost an estimated $20–$25 billion.12 Courts cannot possibly cover this cost: cutbacks in court budgets by state legislatures mean that many courts cannot even cover their basic operating expenses.13 Few courts have money in their budgets to provide lawyers for the indigent. With $100 million for civil lawyers, New York State recently had more money for this purpose than any other state. Though the funding was far from enough to close the justice gap, the state saw a significant decline in the number of unrepresented litigants in the courts.14
This is truly one of the worst books I have ever read. If he were alive, either Melville or I would be the target of a well-placed bullet. Irretrievably romantic, psychological, depressing and completely impractical, this work is beyond believability. So much is described in a tortuous introspection which, in reality, NO ONE ever contemplates before acting. A mysticism accompanies every motivation. He manufactures conflicts that, in a normal world, would never exist. An ...more
(B) Outside Influence. A judge should not allow family, social, political, financial, or other relationships to influence judicial conduct or judgment. A judge should neither lend the prestige of the judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge or others nor convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge. A judge should not testify voluntarily as a character witness.
Check to see if you qualify for a fee waiver that would allow you to proceed without paying any (or some) court fees. Every jurisdiction is different, but this usually involves filing an application or motion to waive fees, which a judge then reviews and makes a ruling. You will likely need to produce evidence showing that you cannot afford to pay court fees (e.g., affidavit, declaration, bills, bank statements, etc.). 

The duty under Canon 2 to act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary applies to all the judge’s activities, including the discharge of the judge’s adjudicative and administrative responsibilities. The duty to be respectful includes the responsibility to avoid comment or behavior that could reasonably be interpreted as harassment, prejudice or bias.


Their rights notwithstanding, pro se litigants create many obstacles for our judicial system as a whole. Indeed, pro se lawsuits are viewed by many as “a type of litigation that’s just riddled with problems on every level.” Lois Bloom, Statement at Pro Se Litigation Panel Discussion, National Workshop for District Judges I (Fed. Judicial Ctr. Mar. 22, 1995). As one commentator has stated,
Expert witnesses: If your case requires an expert witness, that could cost hundreds of dollars per hour.  You will need to pay the expert for her time reviewing any materials, writing a report, and preparing for and testifying at depositions and trial. Some experts also require payment for travel costs, parking, mileage, and hotel accommodations, if necessary.

Recently, I saw a commercial in which a man was depicted performing surgery on himself. While that may have been an attention-getter, we all know that we cannot go to the hospital for such a procedure. On the other hand, we can go to the courthouse and pursue our own case. If so, we are said to be proceeding pro se. "Black's Law Dictionary" (eighth edition) defines the term as "For oneself." It describes the person who appears in court on his or her own behalf without a lawyer.


Participants rated affect items “right now” before and after the affirmation exercise on a 5-point Likert scale (not at all to extremely; Watson et al., 1988). Affect items were selected based on Crocker et al. (2008; Figure ​Figure11), and allowed us to test for changes in feelings related to the construct of self-compassion (e.g., greater sympathy, less criticism; cf. Neff, 2003a) and to test single item measures of social connection previously implicated in self-affirmation effects (e.g., love; Crocker et al., 2008; see Measures). To ensure participants did not link the affirmation activity with the subsequent pro-social dependent measure and to reduce suspicion, participants then completed a 12-item bogus sentence-unscrambling “language” task (consistent with our cover story).


2. Most district courts require you to have an original copy, a copy for each defendant, and an extra. Ask your clerk if they require more copies, and don't forget to keep a copy for yourself. 3. When you go to the district court's office, follow the clerk's instruction. They tend to be very helpful, and will usually lead you through the rest of the process. The clerk will give you a civil cover sheet to fill out while you are there. That cover sheet will be attached to your Pro Se. The clerk will help you, if you need assistance.
Self-Representation.—The Court has held that the Sixth Amendment, in addition to guaranteeing the right to retained or appointed counsel, also guarantees a defendant the right to represent himself. this a right the defendant must adopt knowingly and intelligently; under some circumstances the trial judge may deny the authority to exercise it, as when the defendant simply lacks the competence to make a knowing or intelligent waiver of counsel or when his self-representation is so disruptive of orderly procedures that the judge may curtail it. the essential elements of self-representation were spelled out in McKaskle v. Wiggins…
Now most pro se litigants are at a disadvantage in contested litigation. It may be awkward or inappropriate for them to appear both as counsel and as a witness. They're deprived of the judgment of an independent third party in framing the case, in evaluating how to present the evidence and in forming legal arguments and also in making sure that it is reason rather than emotion that steers how the case is conducted. That's why Judges sometimes warn a party who is proceeding pro se of the old saying that anyone who represents himself in court has a fool for a client and an ass for an attorney.
(1) A judge may hold and manage investments, including real estate, and engage in other remunerative activity, but should refrain from financial and business dealings that exploit the judicial position or involve the judge in frequent transactions or continuing business relationships with lawyers or other persons likely to come before the court on which the judge serves.

I've spent a lot of time sending accessibility complaints to the DOJ for the "mediation process", which is supposed to be a faster way to get better compliance. No response. I waited and got no response. I'm still waiting for, at the very least, a letter confirming that they received the things, let alone tell me what action, if any, they would be taking. Nothing.
If you ignore the summons, the plaintiff will almost certainly ask the court to award a judgment against you.  This kind of judgment is called a “default judgment.”  A default judgment usually awards the plaintiff everything that it asked for in the complaint, plus interest and court costs.  The judgment will appear on your credit report, and it can stay there for up to twenty years if not satisfied.  The judgment also gives the plaintiff the right to try to collect money from you by freezing your bank account or garnishing your wages.  You can avoid a default judgment by filing an answer and appearing in court.

Shauna Strickland. Virginia Self-Represented Litigant Study: Summary of SRL-Related Management Reports for General District Court, Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court, and Circuit Court. (December 2017). This report describes case management reports that OES should consider producing on a regular schedule in an effort to better understand cases with self-represented litigants.
This can be a humbling and learning experience.  Sometimes, despite our convictions or our research, there will be times we will miss or misinterpret the point and be wrong.  Thinking law and litigation is a mixture of morality, common sense and fairness is a common source of this experience.  Morality, common sense and fairness may be elements in the drafting of laws, but the implementation of law may not favor morality, common sense or fairness as these terms are generally defined.
Reaching out to people close to us, even if just for a quick chat, is a great way to remember our vast self-worth. While it's not right to seek validation through others, it is definitely helpful to spend time with those who make us feel loved. People like this include our closest friends, our family, and our significant others. Feeling that you deserve the companies of others is an essential step in developing love for yourself.
Recently, I saw a commercial in which a man was depicted performing surgery on himself. While that may have been an attention-getter, we all know that we cannot go to the hospital for such a procedure. On the other hand, we can go to the courthouse and pursue our own case. If so, we are said to be proceeding pro se. "Black's Law Dictionary" (eighth edition) defines the term as "For oneself." It describes the person who appears in court on his or her own behalf without a lawyer.

A pro se litigant is an individual who is representing himself in a civil court action. While the law allows nearly anyone to be a pro se litigant, and to appear in court on their own behalf, there are some limitations. For example, a pro se litigant, or self-represented litigant, cannot represent others. This places certain limitations on pro se representation, such as:

I truly do appreciate the work you do and the information you provide as this is a great service to "all" citizens. Certainly more "legal information" is needed to increase "legal literacy" in the world today. I am amazed that you are able to respond so quickly given your "one man" operation. The "legacy" you are leaving by promoting "legal education" is important to this generation as well as future generations and I commend you for your efforts to impart of your knowledge. ... Leonard S.
Don't let the Pro Se form scare you. It's easy! All you have to do is just put it in the computer and fill in the bold parts that are in parentheses. If you do not have a computer, then use the "blank" pro se. We have an example copy included for your convenience. Keep the example copy with you at your side as a guideline. Once you have the disk copy in your computer and the example copy in front of you, just follow these suggestions and you're on your way:
Language is my love, and though I am fascinated by all languages and cultures, I am, alas, fluent in only one. My Spanish is sporadic, my French frankly poor, my German generally forgotten, my Italian too long ignored, and my Polynesian languages painfully all but non-existent now. And so it is that this website is devoted to the prose of the only language that has endured in my memory over the years: English. I hope that you will join me in exploring and analyzing this diverse and ever-changing language and share with me your thoughts on its usage and development.
One last word on this topic: Just because a person or business is broke does not necessarily mean pursuing a judgment is pointless. The future is uncertain. A person can eventually inherit money, start a successful business, or sell off property. Depending on the state, judgments may be valid for 10-20 years, and can often be renewed. The big question is: How long are you willing to wait to recover your money… if ever?
Oh my Lord Sonja, you’re my new hero! I went at it with an attorney on Avvo; I asked a legal question and he more or less belittled me for thinking that I had a case and then for thinking that I could actually handle it on my own. This guy was a real jerk! l know I have a winning case but there are not many lawyers in my area that are familiar enough with the statutes to take it pro bono and therefore take the risk. Even the legal opinions that I’ve read say the case law is sparse. Thank you for standing up for pro se litigants and setting the record straight.
Gary Zeidwig doesn’t think so, at least not all the time. Zeidwig, an award-winning lawyer, reveals that there are some cases where an individual can move forward pro se, (for oneself) that is, advocating without an attorney and defending or fighting for their rights on their own behalf, and that it’s not only acceptable but relatively safe to do so.
A manipulation check confirmed that participants in the experimental condition identified with their chosen value and found meaning through the writing exercise as compared to the control group. Affirmed participants strongly agreed that the value they wrote about was important to their self-identity (M = 5.67; SD = 0.39), while control participants disagreed (M = 3.40, SD = 0.93) [F(1,73) = 196.32, p < 0.0005], indicating that affirmed participants found personal value in their topic.
My name is Ann Henry. I am a native Mississippian, a graduate of Ole Miss, and a writer and editor of both fiction and nonfiction. I have spent 17 years of my life overseas—mainly in the British West Indies, the South Pacific, and Mexico—and have lived in all four corners of the contiguous United States: Pacific Northwest, Southwest, South Florida, and New England.
With 90 percent of Americans facing potential lawsuits at least once in their lives, being prepared can mean the difference between winning and losing. Pick up a copy of “How to Represent Yourself in Court—Winning Big without a Lawyer” and let Gary Zeidwig show you how to best prepare yourself in the event you find yourself in court fighting for your rights. Don’t wait until a lawsuit presents itself. By then, it might be too late.

This surprisingly easy hack is one that can be done anytime, anywhere--and is rarely done enough. People underestimate the power of an erect spine or a rigid stance. Carrying yourself like you are proud to be who you are indirectly gives your brain feedback that you are indeed a lovely human, so that you subsequently positive feelings about yourself. Who knew the body could be such a powerful tool?

As suggested by previous research (Crocker et al., 2008), we tested whether changes in single item measures of “loving” and “connected” collected before and after the self-affirmation writing (Figure ​Figure11) could explain how self-affirmation increased helping behavior to the self-collapse incident. Our findings did not support a loving feelings or a feelings of connection mechanism for pro-social behavior; there were no significant self-affirmation condition differences on change in the single items “loving” [one-way ANOVA: F(1,50) = 1.72, p = 0.20] or “connected” [one-way ANOVA: F(1,50) = 0.34, p = 0.56], or the combination of “loving” and “connected” [one-way ANOVA: F(1,50) = 1.28, p = 0.26; pre-writing α = 0.74 and post-writing α = 0.75]. Specifically, there were no differences in post-pre-writing change in feeling “loving” between the self-affirmation (M = -0.08, SD = 0.81) and control (M = 0.22, SD = 0.85) groups, or feeling “connected” (self-affirmation: M = -0.04, SD = 0.89; control: M = 0.11, SD = 0.97; Figure ​Figure11).
Some federal courts of appeals allow unrepresented litigants to argue orally (even so nonargument disposition is still possible), and in all courts the percentage of cases in which argument occurs is higher for counseled cases.[24] In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court adopted a rule that all persons arguing orally must be attorneys, although the Supreme Court claims it was simply codifying a "long-standing practice of the court."[25] The last non-attorney to argue orally before the Supreme Court was Sam Sloan in 1978.[25][26]
×