So, You Want to Act Pro Se!
Good choice! More and more people are representing themselves in legal matters every year.
According to the National Center for State Courts, 2006 Report: “…in the United States, many state court systems and the federal courts are experiencing an increasing proportion of pro se litigants. Estimates of the pro se rate in family law overall averaged 67% in California, 73% in Florida’s large counties, and 70% in some Wisconsin counties. In San Diego, for example, the number of divorce filings involving at least one pro se litigant rose from 46% in 1992 to 77% in 2000, in Florida from 66% in 1999 to 73% in 2001. California reports in 2001 that over 50% of family matters filings in custody and visitation are by pro se litigants. In the U.S. Federal Court system for the year 2013 approximately 27% of civil actions filed, 92% of prisoner petitions and 11% of non-prisoner petitions were filed by pro se litigants.”
Why the upsurge? Mainly because of financial reasons: attorneys are very expensive. It’s hard enough just making ends meet these days, especially for a family, even with two incomes. And when a legal matter creeps up, a lawyer is simply out of the question.
Another reason is that many – or is it most? – people do not trust attorneys. We hear about the “good ol’ boy” network and all the cronyism, nepotism and corruption. We hear about divorces being churned and taking years and years to conclude. We hear about judges remaining on the bench despite blatant bias and prejudice and even outright “case fixing.”
And when we face a legal matter ourselves, many of us, including this author, immediately and naturally, feel overwhelmed and become discouraged at the prospect of representing ourselves, especially against a lawyered-up spouse or other plaintiff, or against a prosecutor or other government attorney. At the same time, many of us, including this author, immediately and naturally, want to learn the legal process, so we can gain the knowledge and confidence needed to represent ourselves, or at least to keep our lawyers honest and efficient.
If you are new to acting pro se and feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry. Make it your goal to gain the knowledge and confidence needed by devoting as much time as you can each week to learning about the legal process, here and elsewhere. Just search and read – there is a wealth of information online! You’ll soon find that your worries are subsiding and your confidence is growing.
Whatever your situation, know that you are not alone, know that technology is making it easier and easier to find the resources and instruction you need to go it alone, and know that Pro Se Alliance has big plans to bring everything you need together, right here. This will take some time, and it will take you some time to gain the knowledge and confidence you need to represent yourself. But know, in the meantime, that you can do it!
The law is not difficult. The law is designed to dispense justice. And you are about to learn how to assert your rights and demand justice!
So, do you still want to act pro se? Good for you! Let’s get started …
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