More Litigants Are Fighting Their Own Court Battles, at their Own Risk

by Fred Abramson on July 26, 2010 · 1 comment

The Wall Street Journal reports that the recession has left more people with the daunting prospect of going to court without a lawyer.

Many people have found themselves in court facing potentially expensive  financial proceedings such as fighting foreclosure and litigating employment fights are deciding to go pro se rather than hire a lawyer.

According to the article, legal experts say many people are likely losing claims and paying penalties they could have avoided with a lawyer at their side. Litigants often don’t understand the sort of evidence they need to present in legal proceedings, said Florida state Judge Claudia Isom.

Raymond Brescia, a professor at Albany Law School, noted that “People will gather legal information from the Internet, from friends, or leaflets at a courthouse and think, ‘I can play checkers, I’m ready. But when they get to court they realize it’s a game of three-level chess, and they don’t have the first idea of what’s happening.”

The Law Office of Frederic R. Abramson practices civil litigation in New York.  If you have a question, call me at 212-233-0666

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Janette Levey Frisch July 28, 2010 at 1:36 pm

In the past I have appeared in court and had to deal with a pro se opposing party. The outcome will depend a lot on how the judge decides to treat the pro se party. If the judge has a hands off attitude, then the pro se party will save money and time in the short run, but will likely end up incurring more costs and spending more time on the matter in the long run. Why? Because navigating the legal system can even be a challenge for experienced attorneys at times. Also, non-attorneys often have strong opinions that are clearly at odds with the law and are unpleasantly surprised to find that out when they are in front of the judge.

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