Remember this phrase: Litigation Privilege. The phrase has a formal meaning, but in layman’s language it means that lawyers can do just about anything, especially to a self-represented litigant, to protect their clients. They can lie, steal, cheat–and kill if they could get away with it–to win. Lawyers don’t always need tricks to defeat pro se litigants, but they try them anyway. They can scare defendants into paying more than they owe or settling for far less than they deserve. They’ll use a request for admissions to make pro se litigants “admit” to undeserved liability by not answering. Some will even attempt to keep away your court reporter by lying to you or to your court reporting agency. So keep your eyes open when you’ve cornered a lawyer. Chances are, there’s a trick coming, and when it does, don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Stay focused on your case. Reacting in anger by moving for sanctions, writing letters to the judge, reporting lawyer behavior in a hearing, or moving to disqualify a lawyer makes thinking and strategizing difficult. That’s not to say certain issues shouldn’t be addressed. If you must take an issue head-on, like moving for sanctions, do it strategically so you’ll get the most out of it. Otherwise, only address lawyer antics and judicial bias when it hurts your case, not when it hurts your feelings.
For the many millions of unrepresented litigants appearing in American courts each year, mastering the rules of the adversarial system is next to impossible.5 Such litigants often do not understand the rules of evidence, and so cannot understand what facts are relevant or how to present them to a judge. An attorney opposing an unrepresented litigant is more likely to withhold evidence favorable to the litigant who is unlikely to know that such evidence must be turned over or to ask for it.
I don't know what type of case you have or what is at stake, financially or otherwise, but if you are suing somebody or something for money, the only time you should even consider representing yourself pro se is when you are seeking a small amount of money, as in perhaps less than 4 or 5 thousand dollars, and you have a small claims court in the location or venue where you want to sue, and the other side is not represented by legal counsel.
It was predicted that self-affirmation increases pro-social behavior. This hypothesis was tested in two ways. First, it was predicted that affirmed participants would indicate a desire to give more of their income to charities on the spending survey. A significant positive relationship between family income and charitable giving was observed in this sample (r = 0.31, p = 0.02), so family income was used as a covariate in this analysis. A one-way (condition: self-affirmation, control) ANCOVA yielded a significant main effect on percentage of income allocated to charitable donations [F(1,50) = 5.90, p = 0.02, η2 = 0.11]. Specifically, affirmation participants indicated a greater desire for charitable giving (M = 6.58%, SD = 3.66) compared to control participants (M = 4.24%, SD = 3.41). Without controlling for family income, the effect of self-affirmation on charitable giving did not reach statistical significance [F(1,50) = 2.21, p = 0.14, η2 = 0.04]. Second, it was predicted that self-affirmed participants would exhibit greater helping behavior to the shelf-collapse incident. Indeed, a one-way ANOVA confirmed that self-affirmation participants helped more (M = 3.92, SD = 3.02) than control participants in response to the shelf-collapse incident (M = 2.33, SD = 2.2) [F(1,46) = 4.32, p = 0.04, η2 = 0.09].
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.

One limitation of Study 1 is that we did not use a validated measure of state self-compassion, but constructed a composite measure of compassionate feelings using theoretically consistent items available from the administered affect checklist. It is possible that our composite self-compassion measure in Study 1 indexes other constructs besides self-compassion. To address this limitation, we conducted Study 2 to test whether self-affirmation increases self-compassion using a validated behavioral measure of self-compassionate feelings in response to a storytelling task (Leary et al., 2007). Moreover, a limitation of our Study 1 findings, like previous studies (Crocker et al., 2008), is that an alternative compassion explanation can be offered – specifically, it is unclear whether the increase in compassionate feelings in Study 1 are directed toward the self (consistent with our self-compassion account) or toward others (or toward both the self and others). Study 2 directly tests this self vs. other-focused compassion account of self-affirmation by manipulating whether participants provide ratings of their compassionate feelings toward their own storytelling video (self) or to the video of a peer (other). Study 2 also provided an opportunity to extend our self-compassion account by testing the role of trait self-compassion in moderating self-affirmation effects (we did not include a trait self-compassion individual difference measure in Study 1, a study limitation). Specifically, participants in Study 2 completed a measure of trait self-compassion (Neff, 2003b; Raes et al., 2011) to test whether self-affirmation effects on self-compassion are moderated by trait self-compassion, such that self-affirmation increases self-compassionate feelings most in participants who have pre-existing low levels of trait self-compassion.
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.
Yet the tone of the book isn’t quite satirical; it’s not exactly an indictment of the materialism and gullibility of American society. Melville’s confidence-man doesn’t try to persuade marks, not exactly. His method takes the form of a dialogue on why trust is better than mistrust, an argument for the need to have faith in nature and mankind. Much of the book is taken up with elaborate philosophical arguments on questions such as whether nature is always good, whether a boy’s character predicts the man he will become, the ethics of loaning money, and, above all, whether one should have confidence, or trust, in one’s fellow man. The effect is a bit as if Plato had Socrates, while arguing that justice is better than injustice, convince Glaucon to lend him his watch. It’s an odd book about materialism that spends all its time with its head in the clouds—although there’s no better time to pick a man’'s pocket than while he’s stargazing. There’s a slight scent of brimstone to the confidence-man, as if he’s come to earth as part of an infernal bet on the fallibility of human nature. Or, as the novel’s most caustic cynic, a one-legged man who believes that a crippled beggar called Guinea is a white man in blackface, says, “Money, you think, is the sole motive to pains and hazard, deception and deviltry, in this world. How much money did the devil make by gulling Eve?” Yet as it turns out, the philosophical claims the novel’s characters dispute, about human nature and the obligations of human beings toward each other, have much to do with the particular economic form of the society they inhabit.

Does Courtroom5 apply to Ilinois ? I’m trying to accept the Judges recommendation fir division of property in a divorce case and avoid trial but my lawyer is trying to go to trial to Tim up the fees … I know I can dismiss lawyer but how do I tell the judge that I want to accept her recommendation for division of property ? Do I 1st file pro se and attach a motion to it simply telling the judge this ? My lawyer is telling me that the judge may not let me out of the case, etc. to discourage me. I need this case to close. No children are involved and this case resulted from a Bifurcated Divorce. I need to get some advice as soon as possible and feel confident about filing the documents. Trial is set for June 2019.
When pro se litigants feel they are being shut out from the process or that their voices are being stifled, these challenges—and the accompanying risks—are amplified. In fact, studies show that notions of fairness heavily influence and guide pro se litigants. Id. at 4. Indeed, “research has repeatedly established that when litigants perceive that a decision-making process is fair, they are more likely to be satisfied with the outcome.” Self-Represented Litigation Network, Handling Cases Involving Self-Represented Litigants: A National Bench Guide for Judges 2–4 (2008).
In New Hampshire one party is pro se in 85% of all civil cases in the district court and 48% of all civil cases in the superior court in 2004.[40] In probate court, both sides are unrepresented by lawyers in 38% of cases. In superior court domestic relations cases, almost 70% of cases have one pro se party, while in district court domestic violence cases, 97% of the cases have one pro se party.[1]
Good prep for litigation is hard work, like reading cases and statutes and writing concise, precise and persuasive motions and pleadings. Even then, the “tactics in the courtroom” you mention can still go on. So, mentality can be just as important as hard tangible work. Understand that lawyers want to win too, and they’ll do whatever they think it takes to do so. Cutting the ethical edge is just a day at work for some of them. Your job is to not get up in your feelings about any of that stuff. I know that’s difficult to do, and I struggle with it all the time, but it does not help you win. Do the work, understand your arguments and stay on point.
Genius often makes itself known in short bursts, so don't let it go when it comes around. If you have a great idea for a new work process, a recipe to try, or even a way to drive more efficiently, write it down. This way, you'll remember the strokes of genius that fleetingly pass through, and you'll be able to look back on them and remind yourself of the little things when you're feeling down.

Yet the world of the ship is also a land of gab. Conversations and wheeling and dealing break out constantly. There’s a kind of aspirational sociability to life among strangers. It’s always possible that you’re walking into a den of thieves, but it’s more likely that most people are basically decent. If we took a position of total mistrust, we’d all wind up staying in our rooms the whole time to avoid getting fleeced or stabbed. There has to be some baseline level of confidence for exchange to occur, or even for people to just get along and pick up a story or two. Melville’s character hits people where they’re most vulnerable: by trying to act decently, by trying to follow humane norms of behavior, they end up suckers. A minister, for instance, denounces the embittered fellow who says a cripple is an imposter in blackface and gives the beggar a coin (rather than throwing it in his mouth, the cruel sport of the other guests). For his trouble he is rewarded with a visit from a man in gray, who praises him and says, “Since you are of this truly charitable nature, you will not turn away an appeal in behalf of the Seminole Widow and Orphan Asylum?” But the cynics don’t fare any better: a stingy miser buys some herbal concoction in the hope that it will soothe his pain, and a misanthrope who’d rather have machines than boys work his farm agrees to take on a lad from another smooth operator’s Philosophical Intelligence Office, a kind of antebellum temp agency. The confidence-man worms his way into the pockets of trusting and suspicious passengers alike.
Judges also support greatly increased funding for lawyers in civil cases for litigants who cannot afford representation out of self-interest. Most local and state judges are elected or appointed to serve for a specified term, to which they may be either reelected or reappointed.21 They are periodically evaluated by the public or the appointing authority. Judges perceived as showing partiality – for example, by providing permitted assistance to unrepresented litigants – may lose elections or reappointments. Judges’ careers can be marred by complaints from unrepresented litigants who, because they do not have the benefit of legal advice, have unreasonable expectations about courts and law.22 The presence of lawyers on both sides of a case insulates judges from perceptions of impartiality and from litigant complaints.
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.
(F) Governmental Appointments. A judge may accept appointment to a governmental committee, commission, or other position only if it is one that concerns the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice, or if appointment of a judge is required by federal statute. A judge should not, in any event, accept such an appointment if the judge’s governmental duties would tend to undermine the public confidence in the integrity, impartiality, or independence of the judiciary. A judge may represent the judge’s country, state, or locality on ceremonial occasions or in connection with historical, educational, and cultural activities.
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).
It was predicted that self-affirmation increases pro-social behavior. This hypothesis was tested in two ways. First, it was predicted that affirmed participants would indicate a desire to give more of their income to charities on the spending survey. A significant positive relationship between family income and charitable giving was observed in this sample (r = 0.31, p = 0.02), so family income was used as a covariate in this analysis. A one-way (condition: self-affirmation, control) ANCOVA yielded a significant main effect on percentage of income allocated to charitable donations [F(1,50) = 5.90, p = 0.02, η2 = 0.11]. Specifically, affirmation participants indicated a greater desire for charitable giving (M = 6.58%, SD = 3.66) compared to control participants (M = 4.24%, SD = 3.41). Without controlling for family income, the effect of self-affirmation on charitable giving did not reach statistical significance [F(1,50) = 2.21, p = 0.14, η2 = 0.04]. Second, it was predicted that self-affirmed participants would exhibit greater helping behavior to the shelf-collapse incident. Indeed, a one-way ANOVA confirmed that self-affirmation participants helped more (M = 3.92, SD = 3.02) than control participants in response to the shelf-collapse incident (M = 2.33, SD = 2.2) [F(1,46) = 4.32, p = 0.04, η2 = 0.09].
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]
×