It’s not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog. That famous Mark Twain quote is the underdog anthem, and for good reason. When you’re outmatched on the metrics, you fall back on grit and gonads to win. And that’s the situation most pro se litigants face: outmatched on case strategy, outmatched on legal research, outmatched on written and oral legal argument skills, but largely underestimated on passion and determination.
I’ve been thinking long and hard about my New Year’s resolutions as a pro se litigant, and they all boil down to one goal: Give Em Hell.
When the credit card company comes for that bill, give em hell. When the landlord tries to evict you, give em hell. When the ex wants the kids and everything you’ve worked for, give em hell. When the bank comes for your home, give em hell. When the auto repair shop won’t fix their mess, give em hell. When the creditors fight your bankruptcy plan, give em hell. When the judge and opposing lawyer and judicial assistants treat you like a pushover, give em hell.
This year, let’s prove Mark Twain right: Victory is determined by the size of the fight in the dog.
See, we can learn strategy and legal research. We can practice written and oral argument. But the other side can never overcome a lack of passion and determination.
The courts belong to the people, but they don’t often act like it. It’s time for us to claim them and train them in the right ways to serve the people. Happy New Year!