All of these challenges are made worse by the disparity in education between lawyers and many low-income individuals, who generally read at lower reading levels and are more comfortable with oral communication, in particular by relating stories. The American justice system depends on written rules and on written orders and decisions, written at a reading level much higher than that of the average low-income litigant. Without a lawyer (or other kind of legal problem-solver) to explain the rules, navigate the legal process, and translate orders and decisions into accessible terms, a low-income litigant is likely to be lost in the system and to lose his case.11
Unlike in the criminal context, there’s no federal constitutional right to counsel in civil cases. Civil cases can involve a range of critical issues, including housing, public benefits, child custody and domestic violence. And while some civil litigants may be entitled to counsel in certain jurisdictions, in most of these cases, people who cannot afford a lawyer will be forced to go it alone. Doing so may mean that they fail to make it through the process, have their case dismissed or lose what otherwise would have been a winning case.
Canon 4F. The appropriateness of accepting extrajudicial assignments must be assessed in light of the demands on judicial resources and the need to protect the courts from involvement in matters that may prove to be controversial. Judges should not accept governmental appointments that could interfere with the effectiveness and independence of the judiciary, interfere with the performance of the judge’s judicial responsibilities, or tend to undermine public confidence in the judiciary.
Very often, we forget to value ourselves as people. We place great emphasis on the things we've accomplished, the work we've put out, and the actions we've done. At the end of the day, however, what really matters is who we are--and how those we love see us. Surround yourself with people who care deeply about you outside of your material output, and watch your self-love skyrocket.
Great advice! Every point you have made about lawyers and their tricks, I have experienced. One of the greatest failures of the lower courts is the acceptance of inadequate documentation because they go unchallenged. The court is not going to do your work or come to your rescue as you may think. If the document is a not original or is forged, it is up to you to make the case. Even if the judge can see that a document may have an obvious forgery, you must still make the case against it.
The plaintiff — the creditor or debt buyer — ALWAYS has the burden of proof in a debt collection case. This means that the plaintiff has to come up with evidence to prove to the court that (1) the plaintiff has the right to sue you; (2) the debt is yours; and (3) you owe the exact amount of money that the plaintiff claims you owe. You do not have to prove that you do not owe the money. Rather, the plaintiff has to prove that you DO owe the money.
When relations are mediated by money, the pendulum between trust and mistrust can swing very rapidly. The confidence-man’s final tricks focus on the ethics of lending. In one scheme, the cosmopolitan, going by the over-the-top name of Frank Goodman, befriends a bit of a dim bulb named Charlie, and the two toast to the glory of friendship. After several pages of warmth, praise of geniality and companionship, the cosmopolitan lets Charlie in on a secret.
With that said, some breaches of procedure by a pro se litigant are important, while others are not. To navigate these inevitable breaches to the benefit of a client, counsel must determine how the court generally views such breaches and take steps to ensure the court understands when the breaches are material (e.g., the breach prejudices a party unfairly). However, even potentially armed with such knowledge, the court may have a “tendency to stretch or ignore the procedural rules in the pro se litigant’s favor.” Id. at 50. While counsel can continually remind the court that the pro se litigant must be held to the same standard as an attorney, “some courts may still regard procedural breaches as relatively unimportant.” Id. Thus, it becomes imperative “to convince the court that the procedural breach is a serious matter.” Id. In other words, counsel must educate the court in both a succinct and compelling way—whether through an oral objection or appropriate written means—that the pro se litigant’s procedural failure is unduly prejudicial to counsel’s client, the court, the administration of justice generally, or some or all of these.
To fulfill their role as neutral deciders in an adversarial legal system, judges need lawyers. Unrepresented litigants tax the court system and burden the people who work in it. Judges around the country, of all political stripes, are resolute in their support of civil legal aid. Judges support civil legal aid because they value equal justice and the protection of the disadvantaged. They support legal aid because it assists in the efficient and effective administration of the courts they run. They also support legal aid out of self-interest, because it makes their work lives less threatened and more effective.
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. 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."
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Strickland v. Washington (1984) Nix v. Whiteside (1986) Lockhart v. Fretwell (1993) Williams v. Taylor (2000) Glover v. United States (2001) Bell v. Cone (2002) Woodford v. Visciotti (2002) Wiggins v. Smith (2003) Holland v. Jackson (2004) Wright v. Van Patten (2008) Bobby v. Van Hook (2009) Wong v. Belmontes (2009) Porter v. McCollum (2009) Padilla v. Kentucky (2010) Sears v. Upton (2010) Premo v. Moore (2011) Lafler v. Cooper (2012) Buck v. Davis (2017)
To directly measure helping behavior, we designed a surprise shelf-collapse incident in the lab. Specifically, the experimenter instructed the participant to complete some questionnaires (another affect scale and the demographics measure) while she set up for another participant in an adjacent room. A non-bracketed shelf containing paper clips, pens, and alcohol swabs hung on the door to the experimental room (about 3 m from the seated participant), such that when the experimenter exited the room and closed the door, this shelf (and its contents) crashed to the ground. The experimenter (blind to subject condition) observed participants’ reactions using an unobtrusive video camera, and scored participants’ helping behavior on a 9-point Likert Scale (scale anchors: 0 = provided no help at any time, 4 = participant informs experimenter of incident upon experimenter’s return and then helps experimenter pick up items, 8 = immediate helping with fallen items), with higher scores indicating more helping behavior. All participants noticed the shelf-collapse.
(6) A judge should not make public comment on the merits of a matter pending or impending in any court. A judge should require similar restraint by court personnel subject to the judge’s direction and control. The prohibition on public comment on the merits does not extend to public statements made in the course of the judge’s official duties, to explanations of court procedures, or to scholarly presentations made for purposes of legal education.
Service: “Service” is a fancy-schmancy legal term that means “officially delivering legal documents.” Some pleadings (e.g., complaints, subpoenas, and more) need to be served personally—meaning someone (other than you) has to personally hand them to the recipient. If personal service is required, you may need to pay a process server, sheriff, or marshal to serve those documents.