Congratulations! You have just filed your first Pro Se complaint. Feel free to share your new knowledge with as many people as you can, including any materials in this packet. Nothing is copyrighted, and duplication is encouraged. If you need any further assistance, please call the Pa. Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities at (717) 238-0172 voice or (717) 238-3433 TTY.
(4) A judge should comply with the restrictions on acceptance of gifts and the prohibition on solicitation of gifts set forth in the Judicial Conference Gift Regulations. A judge should endeavor to prevent any member of the judge’s family residing in the household from soliciting or accepting a gift except to the extent that a judge would be permitted to do so by the Judicial Conference Gift Regulations. A “member of the judge’s family” means any relative of a judge by blood, adoption, or marriage, or any person treated by a judge as a member of the judge’s family.
When a judge determines that an organization to which the judge belongs engages in invidious discrimination that would preclude membership under Canon 2C or under Canons 2 and 2A, the judge is permitted, in lieu of resigning, to make immediate and continuous efforts to have the organization discontinue its invidiously discriminatory practices. If the organization fails to discontinue its invidiously discriminatory practices as promptly as possible (and in all events within two years of the judge’s first learning of the practices), the judge should resign immediately from the organization.
According to the 1996 report on pro se by University of Maryland Law School, 57% of pro se said they could not afford a lawyer, 18% said they did not wish to spend the money to hire a lawyer, 21% said they believed that their case was simple and therefore they did not need an attorney.[47][48] Also, ABA Legal Needs Study shows that 45% of pro se believe that "Lawyers are more concerned with their own self promotion than their client's best interest."[47]
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.

Reflecting on an important personal value in a self-affirmation exercise has been shown to have a broad range of beneficial effects across over 225 published studies (for reviews, see Sherman and Cohen, 2006; Cohen and Sherman, 2014). For example, a brief self-affirmation of an important personal value, such as writing about why you value friends and family, has been shown to buffer many different threats to the self, such as reducing rumination in response to failure feedback (Koole et al., 1999), lowering stress reactivity to social evaluation (Creswell et al., 2005, 2013), and in mitigating the effects of stereotype threat on academic performance in classroom settings (Cohen et al., 2006; Miyake et al., 2010). Despite this large body of work, the mechanisms of self-affirmation are not well specified, and currently two theoretical perspectives have been offered to explain how self-affirmation exerts its effects. A longstanding theoretical perspective posits that self-affirmation boosts one’s self-image for coping with self-threats (Sherman and Cohen, 2006). Although some studies provide support for this self-resources account (e.g., increasing self-esteem and self-regulatory strength; Schmeichel and Vohs, 2009; Sherman and Hartson, 2011), empirical support for this mechanistic explanation has been limited (Sherman and Cohen, 2006; Crocker et al., 2008). In contrast, a more recent theoretical perspective offers that self-affirmation enables one to transcend self-image concerns by increasing other-directed feelings (Crocker et al., 2008). In one influential study, Crocker et al. (2008) showed that affirmed participants reported greater feelings of love and connection, and that these feelings statistically explained how self-affirmation reduced defensiveness to a threatening health message.
Canon 3B(3). A judge’s appointees include assigned counsel, officials such as referees, commissioners, special masters, receivers, guardians, and personnel such as law clerks, secretaries, and judicial assistants. Consent by the parties to an appointment or an award of compensation does not relieve the judge of the obligation prescribed by this subsection.

Shauna Strickland. Virginia Self-Represented Litigant Study: Outcomes of Civil Cases in General District Court, Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court, and Circuit Court. (December 2017). This report characterizes Circuit Court civil cases by analyzing caseload composition, the presence of legal representation, the level of case contention, and case outcomes.
He is able to do this because he embodies a particular contradiction regarding the need for trust in a market society. At both ends of the novel, in the confidence-man’s first and last guises, he meets a barber who has a sign saying NO TRUST—that is, pay up now, not tomorrow. This message is what the confidence-man argues against. One must always trust, extend it to all the world, he says. As a deaf-mute in the first chapter, he holds up a series of Corinthians-derived morals on charity—“Charity thinketh no evil” and so on—which strike the watching crowd as bizarre, while the barber’s sign elicits no comment. It’s clear why a barber who cut hair on credit would be risking a close shave. In his final costume, that of a garishly dressed and pompous universalist “Cosmopolitan,” he strikes up an argument with the barber. “Better cold lather, barber, than a cold heart. Why that cold sign?” One must trust mankind, he says.
Experimenters remained blind to participants’ affirmation condition during the experimental session, following procedures as in Study 1. Following procedures from recent self-compassion research (Leary et al., 2007, Study 4), participants arrived at the lab one-at-a-time for a study they believed explored the influence of adults’ moods on story telling. After providing written informed consent, participants completed individual difference baseline measures, including trait self-compassion (Neff, 2003b; Raes et al., 2011). Specifically, participants completed the 12-item Self-Compassion Scale – Short Form, which measures the frequency of self-compassionate feelings on a day to day basis (anchored 1 = almost never to 5 = almost always). Items were averaged to form a composite measure of trait self-compassion, with negative items reverse-scored (α = 0.86; Neff, 2003b; Raes et al., 2011). Trait self-compassion was embedded among two other exploratory baseline questionnaires: the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) Extraversion subscale (Costa and McCrae, 1992), and the Dispositional Positive Emotions Scale (DPES) Compassion subscale (Shiota et al., 2006). Then, following existing procedures for testing compassionate feelings (Leary et al., 2007, Study 4), participants were videotaped while telling an extemporaneous children’s story beginning with, “Once upon a time, there was a little bear…” for 90 s. Participants, who believed we were collecting pilot data for an unrelated study, next completed a 3-min self-affirmation or control writing exercise as described in Study 1. Additionally, participants completed a 4-item manipulation check (α = 0.97) assessing whether the writing exercise was important to their self-identity. Specifically, participants rated the personal importance of the value they wrote about on a 6-point Likert scale (strongly disagree – strongly agree; i.e., “This value is an important part of who I am;” “In general, I try to live up to this value”).
He is able to do this because he embodies a particular contradiction regarding the need for trust in a market society. At both ends of the novel, in the confidence-man’s first and last guises, he meets a barber who has a sign saying NO TRUST—that is, pay up now, not tomorrow. This message is what the confidence-man argues against. One must always trust, extend it to all the world, he says. As a deaf-mute in the first chapter, he holds up a series of Corinthians-derived morals on charity—“Charity thinketh no evil” and so on—which strike the watching crowd as bizarre, while the barber’s sign elicits no comment. It’s clear why a barber who cut hair on credit would be risking a close shave. In his final costume, that of a garishly dressed and pompous universalist “Cosmopolitan,” he strikes up an argument with the barber. “Better cold lather, barber, than a cold heart. Why that cold sign?” One must trust mankind, he says.
(4) A judge should accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, and that person’s lawyer, the full right to be heard according to law. Except as set out below, a judge should not initiate, permit, or consider ex parte communications or consider other communications concerning a pending or impending matter that are made outside the presence of the parties or their lawyers. If a judge receives an unauthorized ex parte communication bearing on the substance of a matter, the judge should promptly notify the parties of the subject matter of the communication and allow the parties an opportunity to respond, if requested. A judge may:

When we get looped into living the same reel of life over and over again, it's hard to feel like we're accomplishing anything. Accomplishments--or at least the image of self-growth--are an easy way to boost our self-confidence. Combat this issue by challenging yourself with foreign circumstances. How you handle them--and how you excel--just might surprise you.


The Center helps judges and courts advance access to civil justice, especially for poor and low-income individuals, by offering resources on 15 strategies and technical assistance. It works closely with the Conference of Chief Justices, the Conference of State Court Administrators and other national court organizations to implement access-to-justice solutions.
Your Day in Court. This is a video clip from King County, Washington featuring Judge Mary Yu and Stephen Gonzalez.  Judge Yu explains the basic layout of the courthouse and Judge Gonzalez talks about courtroom procedure.  The information in this video is designed for pro se users of the King County court system but it is general enough that court users in any state can benefit from viewing it.
A judge may engage in extrajudicial activities, including law-related pursuits and civic, charitable, educational, religious, social, financial, fiduciary, and governmental activities, and may speak, write, lecture, and teach on both law-related and nonlegal subjects. However, a judge should not participate in extrajudicial activities that detract from the dignity of the judge’s office, interfere with the performance of the judge’s official duties, reflect adversely on the judge’s impartiality, lead to frequent disqualification, or violate the limitations set forth below.
When you go into a foreign country and want to communicate with the inhabitants, you have to talk THEIR lingo. Courtrooms are a foreign country and they have their own language. "Complaint language" (or "law talk") is what they call it. If you don't use it in your pleadings (that's what documents you file with the court are), you will not only not be listened to and taken seriously, you will not be HEARD. They will literally not SEE the words on the page if they are not written in their "language."
The center’s approach, known as “limited-scope legal assistance,” can fill an important void. Most federal courts devote substantial resources to pro se litigants, such as handbooks and staff time answering process questions, and pro se staff attorneys help judges process cases. But court staff may not give legal advice to litigants, and although private lawyers offer some volunteer assistance, they cannot meet demand.
Telling someone “Trust me” is usually a dead giveaway that they should do exactly the opposite. A trustworthy person doesn’t need to insist on it. Professions of the need for trust are a pretty good sign that someone is trying to sell you something. Herman Melville’s The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade, the last novel he published in his lifetime, which met with scathing and uncomprehending reviews, plays around with this theme. It’s a disorienting string of loosely connected scenes, tracking the schemes of a shapeshifting trickster aboard a Mississippi steamboat who solicits his fellow passengers through a variety of pitches, always insisting on the need for confidence in the goodness of the world.

We tested two predictions in Study 2: (1) whether self-affirmation increased feelings of self-compassion but not compassionate feelings toward others, and (2) whether trait self-compassion moderates the self-affirmation self-compassion effect, such that self-affirmation would be more likely to increase self-compassionate feelings among participants who had pre-existing low levels of trait self-compassion. To test these predictions, we conducted a multiple regression analysis that modeled the self-affirmation × video condition interaction, and the 3-way trait self-compassion × self-affirmation × video condition interaction. Specifically, this multiple regression analysis included the trait self-compassion continuous predictor variable, self-affirmation condition (self-affirmation = 1 or control = 0), and video condition (self = 1 or other video = 0) as predictor variables, along with their two-way interactions, and one 3-way interaction term. Table ​Table11 provides the results of this multiple regression analysis for compassionate feelings to the storytelling video, and Figure ​Figure33 visually depicts the results. Notably, this regression analysis revealed a significant main effect of video condition, such that those who watched their own video had lower feelings of compassion than those who watched the confederate’s video [β = -2.31, t(69) = -3.96, p < 0.005]. Moreover, we observed a significant trait self-compassion × video condition interaction, showing that participants lower in trait self-compassion rated their own video less favorably relative to participants higher in trait self-compassion (whereas trait self-compassion did not impact ratings of a peer’s video). This result conceptually replicates previous research showing that trait self-compassion moderates behavioral self-compassion to a storytelling video (Leary et al., 2007).


Clerk’s staff and judges in Brooklyn now refer pro se litigants to a new on-site center called the Pro Se Legal Assistance Project. There, a small legal staff from the New York City Bar Justice Center helps clients more effectively pursue their cases. The center assists with strategizing, document drafting and procedural guidance, but does not directly represent litigants in court.
Laws and organizations charged with regulating judicial conduct may also affect pro se litigants. For example, the Judicial Council of California officially advocates treating self-represented litigants fairly.[9] The California rules allow for accommodating mistakes by a pro se litigant that would otherwise result in a dismissal, if the case is otherwise merited.[10] In addition the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure rule 56 on summary judgments notes that pro se litigants may need additional advice with regard to necessity of responding a summary judgment motion.[11]
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