Monday, November 24, 2008 idiot for a client?

Pro se litigants is an interesting topic and many times, they serve as a ripe source of business. An article in today's online issue of the Houston Chronicle discusses the growing practice.

In my experience, most people are able to do a fair to good job representing themselves when everything goes right. The problem arises when things go wrong. Case in point, contracts drafted by non-lawyers typically lack key terms related to payment timing, delivery of goods and services, and dispute resolution. When these contracts have to be litigated, many times, there is very little substance to make a claim on because of the the vagueness of the contract.

As noted in the article, a more serious problem is when a pro se litigant fails to properly preserve error at the trial level. This in essence strips away the losing litigant's ability to appeal the decision.

It is also important to realize that Federal courts in the 5th Circuit (our circuit) do not allow a corporate entity (e.g. Corporation, Limited Liability Company)to appear pro se. As a legal entity separate from the individual, it must be represented by a licensed and admitted lawyer.

Once in a courtroom, there are books' worth of deadlines and procedures that must be followed. The penalty sometimes is the loss of your right to seek judicial remedy for your situation.

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