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
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…
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.

The district chose not to renew Vukadinovich's contract soon after, and he blamed it on age discrimination and retaliation by the former Hammond principal. He also claimed Hanover violated his right to due process. Hanover Superintendent Tom Taylor, who was not in that position at the time of Vukadinovich's firing, could not be reached for comment.
I am an Arizona attorney. AVVO does not pay us for our responses. Simply because I responded to your question does not mean I am your attorney. In Arizona a non-lawyer is held to the same standards as an attorney so there are dangers to representing yourself. This is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. If you require legal assistance an in depth discussion of your case is needed as there are many other issues to consider such as defenses, statute of limitations, etc.
But that shouldn't make a difference, as all cases are to be judged on their merits, not by the persons who bring them. By law, every federal judge must take an oath affirming to "administer justice without respect to person, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich," and to "faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as judge under the Constitution and laws of the United States."
So, you have to decide what your goal is: (1) To post your complaint on the web in all its vitriolic splendor and go down in a blaze of glory or (2) to win your case. If its the former, go for it! If its the latter, get some help to draft a complaint in law talk, keep it simple, and go for the bucks you need to survive. You can do that, and still keep the street war going in a forum other than the courtroom. That's the win-win approach.
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.

(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.
I finally decided to invest in the program and start to learn "How to Win in Court"! Your program saved me. Learning the rules of court make a difference! The HOA dropped the case. Thank you for everything! I now can start my life over after 10 years of unfounded harassment from greedy people who don't care! The only regret is I did not order your program sooner. ... Becca C.
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.
In response to the shortage of lawyers, despite insufficient resources, many court systems are trying to find ways to level the playing field by making legal forms and processes simpler and easier to use by people without lawyers. Simplification works for some kinds of cases, but it is not a substitute for lawyers when people have complicated substantive or procedural defenses or claims to pursue. Providing a lawyer, or a legal problem-solver, to those who cannot afford one is often the only way to equalize justice. Other forms of legal assistance are helpful and necessary, but they are inadequate to close the gap in access to justice.
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.

(H) Compensation, Reimbursement, and Financial Reporting. A judge may accept compensation and reimbursement of expenses for the law-related and extrajudicial activities permitted by this Code if the source of the payments does not give the appearance of influencing the judge in the judge’s judicial duties or otherwise give the appearance of impropriety, subject to the following restrictions:

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.


You should not ignore a debt collection lawsuit because you cannot find a lawyer.  Hundreds of low income New Yorkers defend themselves in debt collection cases every single day, and many do so successfully.  Luckily, a debt collection case is relatively simple and straightforward as compared to other kinds of legal problems.  Debt collection attorneys often rely on the fact that unrepresented defendants do not know their rights.  Fight back by educating yourself about your case!   Read the information in these pages to familiarize yourself with the court process and the issues you will face as a pro se defendant (“pro se” means “without a lawyer”).  If possible, consult with the NYC Financial Justice Hotline or another attorney to obtain individualized advice about potential defenses you may have.  In our experience, a little information goes an incredibly long way.

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).
Make sure you follow those instructions! At that point, you will be given so many days to serve the defendant with the court summons. In some districts, the plaintiff has the choice of either delivering the summons himself, a friend deliver it, or having a federal Marshal deliver it. It is most effective to have either a federal Marshal deliver the summons, or a really big guy in a suit. Whoever delivers the summons must make a note of who the summons is delivered to, what the date is, and what time it was delivered. Record this information on the appropriate form that is sent to you with the summons, and take it back to the district court.
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.
Why file a Pro Se complaint? As the chair of an advocacy group called the Disability Action Crew (DAC), I have lots of information to help others advocate for access. With every question I get asked about advocacy, it seems I often end up with more questions that go unanswered. It's like a coach trying to beat a team that makes all the rules as the game goes along. He's out there, he's trying to win, but every time he goes for the goal there's a different set of rules. Advocacy's like that‹we don't know the rule of winning access until we break them. And we look to authorities for the answers: the DOJ, the EEOC, the HRC, the DOT.
Canon 3C(1)(d)(ii). The fact that a lawyer in a proceeding is affiliated with a law firm with which a relative of the judge is affiliated does not of itself disqualify the judge. However, if “the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned” under Canon 3C(1), or the relative is known by the judge to have an interest in the law firm that could be “substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding” under Canon 3C(1)(d)(iii), the judge’s disqualification is required.

An individual’s right to represent himself or herself in federal court is expressly codified in 28 U.S.C. § 1654 (2018), which provides: “In all courts of the United States the parties may plead and conduct their own cases . . . therein.” Similarly, many states have codified the rights of pro se litigants in their respective constitutions and statutes. Drew A. Swank, “The Pro Se Phenomenon,” 19 BYU J. Pub. L. 373, 375 (2005). Indeed, according to the Supreme Court, there is “no evidence that the . . . Framers ever doubted the right of self-representation, or imagined that this right might be considered inferior to the right of assistance of counsel.” Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806, 832 (1975).
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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