Legal Advice and Consultation for Pro Se Litigants

Many cases involve traffic tickets with potential fines or civil claims with potential judgments that are too low to make hiring an attorney economically reasonable. For individuals who choose to represent themselves in court, a consultation with an attorney as early as possible may be worthwhile. Advice given during a consultation might involve such details as which court to file in, what documents to prepare, what deadlines and time limitations to be aware of, how to introduce evidence in court in accordance with the rules of evidence, how to respond to potential objections to evidence from the opposing party, and what to do after the judge’s ruling or jury’s verdict.

Such details as those listed above can be critical -- even determinative -- to the outcome of a person's case. In 2007, I watched a man charged with speeding defend himself in court. The man had looked up laws that applied to his situation, and he had evidence he had obtained from an expert, but the rules of evidence did not allow him to present that evidence to the court in the way he tried to present it. The judge seemed sympathetic, but judges are not permitted to ignore the rules of evidence just because they feel sympathy for a party. The man's evidence could not be considered, and the man lost his case.