Handling Cases Involving Self-Represented Litigants: A Benchguide for Judicial Officers. (January 2007). Center for Families, Children, and the Courts. California Administrative Office of the Courts This comprehensive bench guide, the first of its kind, was designed to help judicial officers handle the increase in cases involving self-represented litigants. Twelve chapters of helpful suggestions are provided, along with sample scripts and checklists.
(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.
If you’re a Gangster, you’re almost there. You already have more knowledge, experience, skills and confidence than the lesser types. Just realize that you can’t always win with brute force. Add persuasion to your skill set, and fill gaps in your knowledge of protocol and procedure. That way, you won’t need to rely on brute force. That’s how you become a Conqueror.
Best investment ever! My $249 won $216,000! I sued my employer for violating my copyright. More than a few lawyers turned me down, afraid to take on a giant corporation. After nearly giving up, I found your course. You are right. We can win (if the law is on our side) regardless how powerful our opponents may be. Our liberty really is in the law. Your course gives the common man power to get justice!... Patrick D.
Or at least R.I.P. for non-lawyer pro se litigants. Just when you thought the Supreme Court season had finally come to a close, the Court released a new rule book this morning. It’s 80 pages long and mostly a rehash, but the addition of Rule 28.8 garnered some attention for finally closing a door on the practice of non-lawyers arguing before the Court.
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.
In 2011, the Federal Judicial Conference surveyed federal court clerks offices regarding pro se issues. They found that only 17 of 62 responding judges report that discovery is taken in most non prisoner pro se cases and only 13 reported that discovery is taken in most prisoner pro se cases.[16]:21 In the same survey, 37% of judges found that most pro ses had problems examining witnesses, while 30% found that pro ses had no or few problems examining witnesses.[16]:22 53% found that represented parties sometimes or frequently take advantage of pro se parties.[16]:23 Only 5% reported problems of pro ses behaving inappropriately at hearings.[16]:24 Respondents to the FJC study did not report any orders against non prisoner pro se litigation.[16]
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.
You will deal with all sorts of absurdities, injustices and indignities.  You will be told nonsense and lies with people looking you straight in the eye. You must learn to stare absurdities, injustices and indignities square in the face without losing your cool while still defending yourself.  Being outraged or emotional does NOT carry the weight it may carry outside the courtroom.

There are also freely accessible web search engines to assist pro se in finding court decisions that can be cited as an example or analogy to resolve similar questions of law.[74] Google Scholar is the biggest database of full text state and federal courts decisions that can be accessed without charge.[75] These web search engines often allow pro se to select specific state courts to search.[74]
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.
(1) A judge may hold and manage investments, including real estate, and engage in other remunerative activity, but should refrain from financial and business dealings that exploit the judicial position or involve the judge in frequent transactions or continuing business relationships with lawyers or other persons likely to come before the court on which the judge serves.
Pro Se is a newsletter published bi-monthly by Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York for incarcerated individuals in New York State prisons. Pro Se provides information and analysis on recent developments in the law. Pro Se advises people in prison of changes in the law, provides practice pieces to assist them in complying with statutory and regulatory requirements, and explains technical aspects of various laws affecting prisoners. Pro Se is sent free of charge to individuals incarcerated in New York State who request to be placed on our mailing list.
To test the hypothesis that self-affirmation increases pro-social behavior, participants provided two measures of helping behavior (see Measures). First, participants completed an indirect survey measure of hypothetical charitable giving. Second, participants’ helping behavior was measured in response to a surprise shelf-collapse incident that occurred while they completed some final questionnaires. The experimenter waited 1 min after the completion of these questionnaires before re-entering the room to pick up the fallen shelf items if participants had not already done so. Participants were then probed for suspicion (none were suspicious about the shelf-collapse incident), debriefed, and dismissed.
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 my ex have a child custody lawyer? Although the justice system permits parents to represent themselves, we often advise parents to reconsider self-representation if the other parent will be represented by counsel. Parents represented by counsel could be in a more advantageous position. An attorney who understands family law will have specific knowledge that a lay person may lack.
Clerk’s staff and judges in Brooklyn now refer pro se litigants to a new on-site center called the Pro Se Legal Assistance Project. There, a small legal staff from the New York City Bar Justice Center helps clients more effectively pursue their cases. The center assists with strategizing, document drafting and procedural guidance, but does not directly represent litigants in court.
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
Find out what your jurisdiction does. If they don’t have them, it’s worth it to bring your own. If a hearing means anything to you, the money you shell out for a court reporter will pay back in spades. If it’s difficult to pay for a court reporter, try to stretch those hearings out as long as you can. If you’re in a multi-year case, you might have a hearing only 3 times per year anyway. If you find you’re having more and can’t afford it, prioritize them. This also helps you think strategically about your case.

For this intimate, girls' eye view of the world, Orenstein spent months observing and interviewing eighth-graders from two ethnically disparate communities, seeking to discover what was causing girls to fall into traditional patterns of self-censorship and self-doubt. By taking us into the lives of real young women who are struggling with eating disorders, sexual harrassment, and declining academic achievement, Orenstein brings the disturbing statistics to life with the skill and flair of an experienced journalist. Uncovering the adolescent roots of issues that remain important to American women throughout their lives, this groundbreaking book challenges us to change the way we raise and educate girls.


It sounds like you are on the right path and are doing things correctly. Since the defendant hasn’t complied with the rules and has failed to either admit, deny, or object to your requests, it seems clear that the judge will not have much other choice other than to issue an order deeming the matters as admitted under ORCP Rule 45. And congratulations for submitting requests for admissions, many pro se’s make the mistake of not submitting requests for admissions in their litigations. Requests for Admissions can be very crucial to a case and it is a mistake not to submit them to the opposing party. Hopefully the judge in your case will follow the governing rule and issue an order deeming the matters from your requests as admitted. That will certainly help you prove your case and as you said, will also potentially alleviate your having to drag some witnesses into court against their will to testify. Good for you for holding your own and overcoming the “overwhelming” factor and resisting folding your hand. And good for you for not allowing the defendant’s lawyer into bluffing you and trying to intimidate you into giving up. This is what unscrupulous lawyers try to do, and unfortunately, it works many times. It sounds like you are doing a great job holding your own. You are doing a great job on how you are handling the requests for admissions issues. Keep up the good work! I wish you the best!
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.
If the novelist is part of this same trade, a con man in his own right, he deserves that same mix of trust and mistrust. He’s out on the road making deals, looking for specimens to exhibit. There he goes, transforming experience into remarkable distilled concoctions of truth. Look at this amazing, original character, calls the novelist, see the skill with which something of human character is revealed. Step right up, enjoy the show. The novelist is in this same spot between the general and the particular, offering a meaningful, personal connection through a product of which, if the vagaries of the publishing industry are favorable, vast numbers of copies are made. In The Confidence-Man, Melville’s showing off his showmanship, letting you know he’s bluffing. And that’s the only way you know to trust him.
Does my ex have a child custody lawyer? Although the justice system permits parents to represent themselves, we often advise parents to reconsider self-representation if the other parent will be represented by counsel. Parents represented by counsel could be in a more advantageous position. An attorney who understands family law will have specific knowledge that a lay person may lack.
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.

Canon 2A. An appearance of impropriety occurs when reasonable minds, with knowledge of all the relevant circumstances disclosed by a reasonable inquiry, would conclude that the judge’s honesty, integrity, impartiality, temperament, or fitness to serve as a judge is impaired. Public confidence in the judiciary is eroded by irresponsible or improper conduct by judges, including harassment and other inappropriate workplace behavior. A judge must avoid all impropriety and appearance of impropriety. This prohibition applies to both professional and personal conduct. A judge must expect to be the subject of constant public scrutiny and accept freely and willingly restrictions that might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary citizen. Because it is not practicable to list all prohibited acts, the prohibition is necessarily cast in general terms that extend to conduct by judges that is harmful although not specifically mentioned in the Code. Actual improprieties under this standard include violations of law, court rules, or other specific provisions of this Code.
Melville’s last novel was met mostly with ignorance. Perhaps it was Melville’s form and style, summed by his own words, “There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness is the true method.” Though more true of Moby Dick than The Confidence Man, I suspect readers still didn’t quite know what to make of a novel that, despite being orderly by comparison, was nearly three-quarters dialog; without a discerna ...more
One of the biggest mistakes pro se litigants make is not doing research. Lawyers count on pro se litigants’ ignorance of the law to win cases. The less a pro se litigant knows, the shorter the litigation process will be. A lawyer can buy a $7000 debt for $700 and pay a $100 fee to sue. Thirty or so days later, he wins a default judgment or a one-hearing judgment. He then has the right to collect the full $7000, the $100 court fee, and case-related costs. He’ll have to collect the money himself, but lawyers wouldn’t buy debt if the practice never paid off. Facing a pro se litigant in court pays off for lawyers almost all the time. Whether you’re a plaintiff or a defendant, you don’t want to get knocked out early because of lack of knowledge. Learn the laws relevant to your case. The more you know, the longer you’ll stay and the less chance a lawyer will have a windfall at your expense.
The civil legal needs of both low- and moderate-income individuals in the United States are not being met.2 The need for legal assistance by over one hundred million people in this country is dire.3 Today’s courts look nothing like the ideal. Around the country, state and federal courts regularly encounter pro se litigants: that is, litigants without attorney representation.4 When opposed by an adversary with a lawyer, litigants representing themselves often lose even when the merits of the case favor them. The imbalance leads to injustice.
Telling someone “Trust me” is usually a dead giveaway that they should do exactly the opposite. A trustworthy person doesn’t need to insist on it. Professions of the need for trust are a pretty good sign that someone is trying to sell you something. Herman Melville’s The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade, the last novel he published in his lifetime, which met with scathing and uncomprehending reviews, plays around with this theme. It’s a disorienting string of loosely connected scenes, tracking the schemes of a shapeshifting trickster aboard a Mississippi steamboat who solicits his fellow passengers through a variety of pitches, always insisting on the need for confidence in the goodness of the world.
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 2A. An appearance of impropriety occurs when reasonable minds, with knowledge of all the relevant circumstances disclosed by a reasonable inquiry, would conclude that the judge’s honesty, integrity, impartiality, temperament, or fitness to serve as a judge is impaired. Public confidence in the judiciary is eroded by irresponsible or improper conduct by judges, including harassment and other inappropriate workplace behavior. A judge must avoid all impropriety and appearance of impropriety. This prohibition applies to both professional and personal conduct. A judge must expect to be the subject of constant public scrutiny and accept freely and willingly restrictions that might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary citizen. Because it is not practicable to list all prohibited acts, the prohibition is necessarily cast in general terms that extend to conduct by judges that is harmful although not specifically mentioned in the Code. Actual improprieties under this standard include violations of law, court rules, or other specific provisions of this Code.
It sounds like you are on the right path and are doing things correctly. Since the defendant hasn’t complied with the rules and has failed to either admit, deny, or object to your requests, it seems clear that the judge will not have much other choice other than to issue an order deeming the matters as admitted under ORCP Rule 45. And congratulations for submitting requests for admissions, many pro se’s make the mistake of not submitting requests for admissions in their litigations. Requests for Admissions can be very crucial to a case and it is a mistake not to submit them to the opposing party. Hopefully the judge in your case will follow the governing rule and issue an order deeming the matters from your requests as admitted. That will certainly help you prove your case and as you said, will also potentially alleviate your having to drag some witnesses into court against their will to testify. Good for you for holding your own and overcoming the “overwhelming” factor and resisting folding your hand. And good for you for not allowing the defendant’s lawyer into bluffing you and trying to intimidate you into giving up. This is what unscrupulous lawyers try to do, and unfortunately, it works many times. It sounds like you are doing a great job holding your own. You are doing a great job on how you are handling the requests for admissions issues. Keep up the good work! I wish you the best!
Aside from her family appellate matters, Christa has also been successful in small claims. In 2017 Christa brought a pro se complaint against an auto body repair shop after it made faulty repairs to her vehicle. The shop hired an aggressive attorney, but Christa successfully pushed the case to a settlement for the full amount of her claim. Although Christa cannot and will not offer legal advice, she genuinely engages with her clients, is always happy to lend a listening ear and to share her own pro se experiences. Christa encourages her customers to educate themselves of the system and the laws which she believes results in an empowered and confident pro se litigant.  
There are a number of restrictions courts impose on pro se litigation. They include instances in which individuals are unduly disruptive, clearly lacking in knowledge, or have engaged in improper or abusive practices. There is a growing tendency, although occasionally controversial, for courts to proscribe litigation by individuals who repeatedly engage in abusive tactics while litigating pro se. The practice of self-representation or pro se litigation can be either a boon or a bane to litigants.
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.
Though there is a prejudice against inconsistent characters in books, yet the prejudice bears the other way, when what seemed at first their consistency, afterwards, by the skill of the writer, turns out to be their good keeping. The great masters excel in nothing so much as in this very particular. They challenge astonishment at the tangled web of some character, and then raise admiration still greater at their satisfactory unraveling of it.

Our mission is to arm our customers with their own legal knowledge and instill a sense of confidence and security in navigating the pro se legal journey. Involvement in a lawsuit, whether brought by you or against, can be a very intimidating, emotional and overwhelming endeavor. Pro Se One Stop Legal Document Services, LLC offers personalized, one-on-one services to allay your fears and arm you with the knowledge to handle your own legal matters with utmost confidence. You will work very closely and personally with your legal document specialist to achieve your goals.
The United States ranks an abysmal twenty-five out of thirty-five countries with similar per capita incomes, measured on accessibility and affordability of civil justice in the Rule of Law Index prepared by the World Justice Project.25 The United States consistently fails to provide accessible and adequate legal assistance, and will continue to do so as long as an adversarial system continues and until much more civil legal service funding is provided. Judges foresee the continued erosion of public confidence in the justice system as it becomes increasingly beleaguered by unrepresented litigants, overtaxed courts, and overwhelmed judges.
Congress also has a role. In extreme cases it has the power to remove judges, of course. But short of that, it can at least underscore the seriousness of the rights it established for litigants in the Judiciary Act. Whether through binding or nonbinding language on the topic, Congress can make clear that complaints about violations of the rights of pro se litigants must be taken very seriously by judicial councils.
Here we test a novel self-compassion account that links these two theoretical self-affirmation perspectives. Specifically, we posit that self-affirmation activities increase feelings of self-compassion, characterized by increased self-directed feelings of sympathy and love, and reductions in feelings of vulnerability and criticism (cf. Neff, 2003a; Leary et al., 2007). Our self-compassion account is consistent with the existing theoretical frameworks for self-affirmation: increasing self-compassion is one form of boosting one’s self-image (i.e., the self-resources perspective), and is associated with increased feelings of love and connection (i.e., the self-transcendence perspective; cf. Neff, 2003a). But this self-compassion perspective provides new specificity to these previous theoretical accounts by positing that the self-affirmation self-image boost is about feeling more compassion toward the self (and is not a general self-esteem boost as suggested by the self-resources perspective; Neff and Vonk, 2009), and that compassionate feelings engendered by self-affirmation are not other-directed (as suggested by the self-transcendence perspective), but directed toward the self. It is difficult, however, to disentangle whether these feelings stimulated through values affirmation are directed toward the self or toward others, and furthermore, it’s possible that compassionate feelings toward the self may generate compassion for others. Indeed, one important aspect of a self-compassionate attitude is the recognition of oneself as part of the human condition (Neff, 2003a); this sense of shared humanity may be encouraged by writing about important values, consistent with the self-transcendence perspective, but we suggest that the source of these feelings is a boost in self-compassion.
I prefer the definition that describes prose as a literary medium that is different from poetry in that prose has a more varied rhythm and is usually expressed in more ordinary, everyday language. This is what I sometimes term literary prose, the prose of essays, memoirs, short stories, and novels. And it is this type of prose that I address in ProseAct.
The 2014 amendment to the Compliance section, regarding retired bankruptcy judges and magistrate judges and exempting those judges from compliance with the Code as part-time judges if they notify the Administrative Office of the United States Courts that they will not consent to recall, was not intended to alter those judges’ statutory entitlements to annuities, cost-of-living adjustments, or any other retirement benefits.

Other voices in the citizenry must join with the judiciary to ensure that adequate funding is available to provide lawyers to the indigent and to develop mechanisms to make lawyers affordable to moderate income individuals. Lack of action will devastate the justice system. That will leave the rule of law in ruins, shattering the foundation of American democracy. Any other course will diminish the respect and moral standing the United States has enjoyed as a leader of democratic governments.


Like the self-resources account, our findings indicate that self-affirmation boosts one’s self-image by increasing positive self-feelings, but provide additional specificity about the nature of these feelings; self-affirmation increases feelings related to self-compassion (e.g., sympathy, trust, and less criticism; Study 1). Like self-esteem, self-compassion predicts positive feeling states, but is distinguished by its more stable relationship to self-worth, independent of positive or negative outcomes (Neff and Vonk, 2009). Consistent with this, in response to a potentially embarrassing video of oneself, affirmed participants maintained positive self-feelings (Study 2). The effect of self-affirmation writing on self-compassion may explain why few studies have shown that self-affirmation increases general feelings of state self-esteem or positive affectivity (Sherman and Cohen, 2006).

Depositions: A deposition is a question-and-answer session where a party can ask her opponent questions. Depositions are transcribed by a court reporter (AKA stenographer). Depositions can be expensive, especially if videotaped. Deposition transcripts cost anywhere from $2-5 per page. A single transcript could cost hundreds of dollars. A video copy will cost extra.
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.[47][48] 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."[47]
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