Do I have a basic understanding of how court procedures work? Custody hearings, and court procedures in general, can be quite confusing for first-timers. Parents considering pro se representation usually benefit from attending a couple of court hearings in advance, just to become more familiar with what to expect in court and what proper court etiquette looks like. (And remember: any questions you have about proper court procedures can always be addressed to the court clerk. So seek that person out and develop a friendly rapport with him or her.)
An attorney who represents himself or herself in a matter is still considered a pro se litigant. Self-representation by attorneys has frequently been the subject of criticism, disapproval, or satire, with the most famous pronouncement on the issue being British poet Samuel Johnson's[citation needed] aphorism that "the attorney who represents himself in court has a fool for a client."
The justice system cannot function without the confidence of the public.26 Lack of confidence will eventually lead to distrust of the system and the rule of law. Trust in the rule of law is an essential part of democracy. Although the public trusts the judiciary more than the other branches of government, confidence in the U.S. civil justice system is low.27 In an adversarial system, unrepresented litigants threaten public confidence: when individuals perceive or receive unequal treatment, they lose respect and confidence in the institution that is supposed to deal fairly with them.
There are, however, a number of limitations that courts impose upon pro se litigation. In Minnesota, for example, organizations such as corporations or other businesses cannot represent themselves, although Conciliation Court allows pro se representation with proper written authorization. Corporate entities are considered in the eyes of the law as a separate individual and generally need to be represented by legal counsel, rather than an individual or even the proprietor of the business. However, more obligations and obstacles on courts and litigants in connection with pro se litigation.
Our research provides a promising indication of the pro-social benefits of self-affirmation and self-compassionate feelings. It is perhaps not surprising that feelings of compassion have been associated with increased helping behavior (Mikulincer et al., 2005; Hutcherson et al., 2008; Piff et al., 2010, Study 4), but no published studies (to our knowledge) have tested whether self-compassionate feelings can mobilize helping behavior. His Holiness The Dalai Lama poignantly stated this possibility when he said “If you don’t love yourself, you cannot love others. You will not be able to love others. If you have no compassion for yourself then you are not able of developing compassion for others.” Our study provides an initial experimental demonstration of this idea; we find that increasing feelings of self-compassion (via a self-affirmation activity) can mobilize helping behaviors (to a shelf-collapse incident). Thus self-affirmation may address internally derived self-threats (increasing self-compassion), which in turn allow one to transcend these self-concerns and focus on helping others. Our work joins previous work showing that self-compassion may also act as a buffer to self-threatening events and negative emotions (Neff, 2003a; Leary et al., 2007).

It's an uphill climb! Particularly, when your adversary has a thorough understanding of the rules of evidence, and procedure. You may get some latitude from the court as a pro se, but you may not, as it is up to the judge. Either way, the better question is why don't you have a lawyer on your side? Is it because some lawyers have not seen enough strength in the facts and law in your case? If that's the case, then you have an even steeper climb as you have a difficult case to prove, let alone that it's against a seasoned "high profile" lawyer. If you haven't consulted with an attorney, please do so before you do anything further as a pro se, and perhaps jeopardize your claim irreparably.


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]

The Pro Se Education Program helps you learn about the divorce and parentage process. It will educate you about your responsibilities during the court process. It will help you understand court procedures and what forms you need to fill out. You will also learn about services available to help with problems affecting families. Anyone may attend, whether or not they are a party to a case. Classes are free.

A judge who is retired under 28 U.S.C. § 371(b) or § 372(a) (applicable to Article III judges), or who is subject to recall under § 178(d) (applicable to judges on the Court of Federal Claims), or who is recalled to judicial service, should comply with all the provisions of this Code except Canon 4F, but the judge should refrain from judicial service during the period of extrajudicial appointment not sanctioned by Canon 4F. All other retired judges who are eligible for recall to judicial service (except those in U.S. territories and possessions) should comply with the provisions of this Code governing part-time judges. However, bankruptcy judges and magistrate judges who are eligible for recall but who have notified the Administrative Office of the United States Courts that they will not consent to recall are not obligated to comply with the provisions of this Code governing part-time judges. Such notification may be made at any time after retirement, and is irrevocable. A senior judge in the territories and possessions must comply with this Code as prescribed by 28 U.S.C. § 373(c)(5) and (d).
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.
Then, participants were randomly assigned to either watch their own video or a female study confederate’s video, whom participants believed to be the previous study participant. After watching the storytelling video, participants completed an 8-item measure of how they felt while watching the (self or peer) video, which served as our primary measure of compassionate feelings. Specifically, participants rated eight feeling adjectives [relaxed, happy, sad (reverse-scored), proud, embarrassed (reverse-scored), irritable (reverse-scored), nervous (reverse-scored), peaceful] using 7-point Likert scales (1 = not at all to 7 = extremely). These items were summed to create a composite measure of compassionate feelings toward the self or other video (α = 0.83), with higher scores referencing higher compassionate feelings. Importantly, by asking participants, “How did you feel while watching your [the] video?” we were able to specifically probe feelings of self-compassion (or other-directed compassion) in response to this mildly embarrassing, impromptu storytelling playback. More positive feelings result from feelings of compassion, and less positive feelings reflect negative judgments and a critical response to the video. To evaluate the specificity of the self-compassionate feelings account, participants also completed a 9-item measure of their social perceptions in response to watching the storytelling video (see Leary et al., 2007, Study 4). Participants were asked to rate how they (or the peer) appeared in the video on nine performance dimensions [awkward (reverse-scored), confident, nervous (reverse-scored), creative, reasonable, competent, attractive, foolish (reverse-scored), likable] using 7-point Likert scales (1 = not at all to 7 = extremely) in response to the question, “How do you think you [the other participant] appeared on the video?” Like the compassionate feelings composite measure, the nine items were summed to create a composite measure of performance perceptions toward the self or other video (α = 0.83), with higher scores referencing higher social perceptions of performance during the storytelling task. Thus, we were able to measure two distinct aspects of self-compassion (and other-directed compassion): feelings of (self-) compassion and performance perceptions in response to the storytelling video. These behavioral ratings of self-compassion are positively related to trait self-compassion in previous work (Leary et al., 2007, Study 4). Participants completed a final demographics measure before being probed for suspicion, fully debriefed, and dismissed.

Every Supreme Court Justice is in charge of a judicial circuit in the country. The justices and the Judicial Conference of the United States should make each federal judge understand that they are expected to treat pro se litigants with respect and without disdain. They should make clear that judicial councils will take complaints seriously if judges behave in a prejudicial manner toward litigants who represent themselves.


The United States judicial system is designed to be adversarial, to resolve disputes of fact and law before a neutral judge.1 The premise of the system is that each party in a court case is capable of understanding and using the law, since each must present the law and the facts to the judge. An effective adversarial system requires the presence of legally trained experts, typically lawyers, on both sides of a case.
Pro se litigants may have a lower chance of success. The Louisiana Court of Appeals tracks the results of pro se appeals against represented appeals. In 2000, 7% of writs in civil appeals submitted to the court pro se were granted, compared to 46% of writs submitted by counsel. In criminal cases the ratio is closer - 34% of pro se writs were granted, compared with 45% of writs submitted by counsel.[34] According to Erica J. Hashimoto, an assistant professor at the Georgia School of Law,:
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