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.

While the Due Process Clause does not require the provision of counsel in a civil contempt case for failure to pay child support when the opposing parent is not represented by counsel, the court should provide "alternative procedural safeguards," such as "adequate notice of the importance of ability to pay, fair opportunity to present, and to dispute, relevant information, and court findings."


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.

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The current work was inspired by the work of Crocker et al. (2008) suggesting that self-affirmation may increase feelings of love and social connection. Building on previous studies suggesting that feelings of love and compassion may foster helping behavior (Mikulincer et al., 2005; Piff et al., 2010), Study 1 tests the prediction that self-affirmation will increase feelings of self-compassion, which in turn will increase pro-social behavior. Although no previous studies have tested self-compassion as a mechanism, one recent developmental psychology study suggests that self-affirmation can increase pro-social feelings and teacher-rated behaviors among adolescent students, particularly among students who displayed higher levels of antisocial behavior (Thomaes et al., 2012). Another set of studies showed that self-affirmation increased pro-social behavior only when paired with feelings of moral elevation (Schnall and Roper, 2012). These studies suggest that self-affirmation may impact pro-social behavior through multiple and possibly yet unidentified processes. In Study 2, we test the specificity of the self-compassion account by testing whether self-affirmation increases feelings of compassion toward the self (self-compassion) as opposed to fostering feelings of compassion toward a stranger (other-directed compassion), using a validated behavioral task of self-compassion (Leary et al., 2007, Study 4).
IAALS recently released two new reports focused on the experiences of self-represented litigants in the family court system.  Cases Without Counsel: Research on Experiences of Self-Representation in U.S. Family Court which explores the issues from the litigants' perspective.  Cases Without Counsel: Our Recommendations after Listening to the Litigants outlines recommendations for courts, legal service providers, and communities to best serve self-represented litigants in family cases.
Trial attorneys who are not mindful of the psychological and sociological elements at play when litigating against pro se parties risk exacerbating an already difficult situation by increasing the likelihood of protracted and unfocused litigation, appealable procedural missteps, and unmanaged expectations. Thus, at the outset of the lawsuit, an attorney facing a pro se opponent should make every effort to determine what is motivating the litigation (e.g., hurt feelings, anger, unmitigated expectations) and, if possible, the reason for the lack of representation. Throughout the pretrial process and during trial, a primary objective of counsel should be to strategically allow the pro se litigant to air his or her grievances in such a way as to limit the scope of triable issues while still being satisfied with his or her day in court.
From the prison library, Gideon appealed to the United States Supreme Court, stating that, because he was denied counsel, his Sixth Amendment rights had been violated. In its 1963 ruling, the Supreme Court held that representation by counsel, even by defendants who cannot afford to hire an attorney, is a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution. The opinion further stated that, because the Sixth Amendment does not distinguish between capital and non-capital offenses, the services of an attorney must be provided for an impoverished defendant in all criminal cases.
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.
We hypothesized that self-affirmation would increase feelings related to self-compassion, and that these feelings would mediate the effects of self-affirmation on increased pro-social behavior to a laboratory shelf-collapse incident (Study 1). In Study 2, we tested the specificity of self-affirmation on compassion, predicting that self-affirmation would increase feelings of self-compassion but not other-directed compassion in evaluating a mildly embarrassing video (their own “self” video vs. a peer “other” video). As previous studies indicate that self-affirmation may be particularly effective at buffering threats to participants who are the most resource deficient (e.g., among ego-depleted participants: Schmeichel and Vohs, 2009; participants with high levels of anti-social behavior: Thomaes et al., 2012), we hypothesized a moderating role of trait self-compassion in Study 2, such that self-affirmation would be more likely to increase self-compassionate feelings (to watching the “self” video) among participants who had pre-existing low levels of trait self-compassion.
Lauren Sudeall Lucas is the Faculty Director of the Center for Access to Justice at the Georgia State University College of Law. She serves on the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants and on the board of directors of the Southern Center for Human Rights. She has received research funding for a study regarding the civil legal needs of indigent criminal defendants from the Charles Koch Foundation.
Canon 4C. A judge may attend fund-raising events of law-related and other organizations although the judge may not be a speaker, a guest of honor, or featured on the program of such an event. Use of a judge’s name, position in the organization, and judicial designation on an organization’s letterhead, including when used for fund raising or soliciting members, does not violate Canon 4C if comparable information and designations are listed for others.
We conducted an identical multiple regression analysis with the social performance perceptions measure as the dependent variable. Specifically, this multiple regression analysis tests whether the previous findings related to feelings of compassion also extend to affect social perceptions of performance on the storytelling task (e.g., “how competent did you [the other participant] appear in the video?”). The regression results are depicted in Table ​Table22. Like the compassion feelings measure, participants rated the performance of the peer video higher than the self-video [a main effect of video condition: β = -1.83, t(69) = -2.89, p = 0.005], and trait self-compassion moderated performance perceptions of the videos [trait self-compassion × video condition interaction: β = 1.50, t(69) = 2.35, p = 0.02], such that participants lower in trait self-compassion had lower performance perceptions of their own video (but trait self-compassion did not impact peer video ratings). As shown in Table ​Table22, our results indicate some specificity of the self-affirmation effects to self-compassionate feelings (and not to more general social perceptions): self-affirmation did not significantly impact social performance perceptions (there was no significant self-affirmation × video condition interaction, and no 3-way interaction; Table ​Table22), though this study may have been underpowered to detect subtle influences of self-affirmation on social performance perceptions.
The Supreme Court has held that where a statute permits attorney's fees to be awarded to the prevailing party, the attorney who prevails in a case brought under a federal statute as a pro se litigant is not entitled to an award of attorney's fees.[51] This ruling was based on the court's determination that such statutes contemplate an attorney-client relationship between the party and the attorney prosecuting or defending the case, and that Congress intends to encourage litigants to seek the advice of a competent and detached third party. As the court noted, the various circuits had previously agreed in various rulings "that a pro se litigant who is not a lawyer is not entitled to attorney's fees".[52]
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.
Many pro se resources come from these sources: local courts, which may offer limited self-help assistance;[62] public interest groups, such as the American Bar Association, which sponsors reform and promotes resources for self-help[citation needed], and commercial services, which sell pre-made forms allowing self-represented parties to have formally correct documents. For example, the Self-Represented Litigation Network (SRLN) is an organization whose web site, srln.org, is dedicated to issues related to self-represented litigation and offers a curated resource library for legal professionals (courts, lawyers, and allies) engaged in pro se litigation. The organization provides no assistance with particular complaints.[63] "Self-help" legal service providers must take care not to cross the line into giving advice, in order to avoid "unauthorized practice of law", which in the U.S. is the unlawful act of a non-lawyer practicing law.[64]
(D) Remittal of Disqualification. Instead of withdrawing from the proceeding, a judge disqualified by Canon 3C(1) may, except in the circumstances specifically set out in subsections (a) through (e), disclose on the record the basis of disqualification. The judge may participate in the proceeding if, after that disclosure, the parties and their lawyers have an opportunity to confer outside the presence of the judge, all agree in writing or on the record that the judge should not be disqualified, and the judge is then willing to participate. The agreement should be incorporated in the record of the proceeding.
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.
To avoid this disaster scenario, you should find out early on whether your opponent has the financial wherewithal to pay you if you win. Do some basic online research (e.g., Google, Bing, etc.) and social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.). Is he employed? Does he drive a nice car? Does he appear to have disposable income (vacations, restaurants, property, possessions)?
Study 2 provides a first indication that self-affirmation increases feelings of self-compassion using an established storytelling task-based measure. This result was specific to self-compassion; self-affirmation did not affect other-directed feelings of compassion toward a peer video. Moreover, the effect of self-affirmation on feelings of self-compassion was moderated by trait self-compassion, such that self-affirmation boosted feelings of self-compassion toward the storytelling video in those who were low in trait self-compassion. These findings help clarify the Study 1 findings where it was unclear whether the compassionate feelings encouraging helping behavior were directed at the self or directed out toward others. Here we find evidence that self-affirmation fosters compassionate feelings for the self but not toward a peer, which is consistent with the self-compassion account. However, the use of a single confederate video may not have been optimally matched to real participants’ self videos, perhaps differing on unmeasured variables despite our best efforts to film this peer video under matched conditions (the female research assistant in the video had no chance to practice or provide multiple takes, and was similarly embarrassed during the task as the study participants).
Clarence Earl Gideon, a man who could not afford to hire an attorney to represent him, appeared in a Florida court in 1961, after being accused of felony breaking and entering, requesting that the court appoint counsel to represent him. The state court denied his request, stating that Florida state law allowed the appointment of counsel only if the defendant has been accused of a capital offense. Gideon, who was forced to act pro se was convicted of the crime and sentenced to 5 years in prison.
Later, when time comes to my response, like a bipolar, I keep jumping from Magician to Conqueror and then crave badly to be act like an aggressor. I end up changing my response over and over and over again, until I get the Aggressor out of my system. Then I do my best to mix Magician—common sense—approach to reach a Conqueror-level response document.
Canon 4H. A judge is not required by this Code to disclose income, debts, or investments, except as provided in this Canon. The Ethics Reform Act of 1989 and implementing regulations promulgated by the Judicial Conference impose additional restrictions on judges’ receipt of compensation. That Act and those regulations should be consulted before a judge enters into any arrangement involving the receipt of compensation. The restrictions so imposed include but are not limited to: (1) a prohibition against receiving “honoraria” (defined as anything of value received for a speech, appearance, or article), (2) a prohibition against receiving compensation for service as a director, trustee, or officer of a profit or nonprofit organization, (3) a requirement that compensated teaching activities receive prior approval, and (4) a limitation on the receipt of “outside earned income.”
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Some courts issue orders against self representation in civil cases. A court enjoined a former attorney from suing the new lover of her former attorney.[27] The Superior Court of Bergen New Jersey also issued an order against pro se litigation based on a number of lawsuits that were dismissed and a failure to provide income tax returns in case sanctions might issue.[28] The Superior Court of New Jersey issued an order prohibiting a litigant from filing new lawsuits.[29] The Third Circuit however ruled that a restriction on pro se litigation went too far and that it could not be enforced if a litigant certified that he has new claims that were never before disposed of on the merits.[30] The 10th Circuit ruled that before imposing filing restrictions, a district court must set forth examples of abusive filings and that if the district court did not do so, the filing restrictions must be vacated.[31] The District of Columbia Court of Appeals wrote that "private individuals have 'a constitutional right of access to the courts',[32] that is, the 'right to sue and defend in the courts'."[33]
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