It’s the end of 2015, a good time to recap our best tips this year on how to win in court. With more than 50 posts and some great feedback (especially on social media), the competition was fierce. But I’ve managed to find a dozen posts that, taken together, read like a short course on self-represented litigation. Let’s dive in!
- “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” When you feel overwhelmed by the process and the legal beagles on the other side, remember that nothing beats a great attitude and a strong work ethic.
- Everyone hates being sued, but the hours and days after receiving a lawsuit are filled with peril. Here are the first 9 things to do when you’ve been served.
- The plaintiff has the upper hand at the start of a lawsuit because they’re prepared before the clock starts ticking. To level the playing field as a defendant, you need to know how to answer a complaint in your own sweet time.
- You’d be surprised how many claims require that certain conditions are met before filing a complaint. See how to plead a condition precedent to a claim, and how to defeat a claim when conditions haven’t been met.
- Say you know the right legal position to take, and you know the standards for getting your way. Now all you need are the relevant authorities in your jurisdiction. Read this short summary on the importance of legal research, and how to do it.
- Dismissal is one way to kill a case before trial, but too often our attempts go way overboard. See what’s important so you can keep your motion to dismiss on a leash.
- Summary judgment is another way to kill a case before trial. Here’s what it means and what you must get right to win at summary judgment.
- After the pleadings are in, it’s time to get the facts on the record. Take a look at the common tools of litigation discovery, and how to use them.
- At some point in your case, you get to meet the judge! You’re either going in ready or coming out shocked. Here’s how to prepare for your day in court.
- Lawyers dress to impress when they appear in court, but is that what’s best for you? Maybe so, but here’s a different opinion on how to dress for court when you represent yourself.
- Litigation is never strictly about getting a judgment. Thinking about what success looks like in your case can help you develop the right litigation strategy.
- As a defendant in a newly filed lawsuit, the sooner you can say, “I’ve been sued and I don’t know what to do,” the better off you’ll be. After that, all you need is to stay focused on three key areas.
You have a steep learning curve when you represent yourself. These posts barely touch the surface of pro se litigation, but they’re a good starting point if you’re new to it.
For our regular readers, thanks for keeping us on our toes. Your feedback has made us better, and we hope you’ll stay in touch.
As always, remember that I am not a lawyer (IANAL), and this is not legal advice. From everyone here at Burlington Avenue IT, Happy New Year!