Abilities Needed To Be A Pro se Litigant*
*or abilities you will learn being a
Pro se litigant!
- The ability to deal with rejection
- You must be able to take rejection
without defining it as failure. Always remember if two lawyers
are walking out of the courtroom, both were overpaid. Just
kidding. If two lawyers are walking out of a courtroom, one of
them lost! You must interpret rejection as a battle, not the
- The ability to continue after being
- Sometimes you may need to take a day
or two to recover. You may need to let your rage diminish.
You will need the ability to get back up and say, "Ok,
what can I do now?" or "What didn't I do?"
- The ability to view things from many
- You need the ability to think more in
terms like, "That is A view" versus "There is my view
and the wrong view." "That is A defense" versus
"They don't have a defense." Being impatient or
intolerant with another's view, defense or assertion appears as
immaturity in the courtroom. Opposing side is supposed to have
a view, defense or assertion. Many times you will deal with
outrageous arguments using deceit and/or lies that would never be
used as arguments outside the courtroom.
- The ability to be precise in written
and spoken word.
- "I did not have sexual relations
with Monica Lowinsky." Ms. Lowinsky's allegations involved
oral sex. The definition of sexual relations does NOT include
oral sex. President Clinton never denied Ms. Lowinsky's sexual
allegation....but millions thought he did! "There is no
improper relationship." There isn't now, but WAS there?
Many of us are raised speaking and writing without precision.
We fill in the gaps with what we believe is the intended meaning.
Precision in the spoken and written word will take time to
- The ability to remain dignified
regardless of the circumstances.
- You will deal with all sorts of
absurdities, injustices and indignities. You will be told
nonsense and lies with people looking you straight in the eye or
sounding like they are on a truth serum. You must learn to
stare absurdities, injustices and indignities square in the face
without losing your cool while still defending yourself. Being
outraged or emotional does NOT carry the weight it may carry outside
- The ability to be persistent and through.
- Many in the legal profession say the
one who wins is the one with the most stamina. Of course, that
usually means the one with the most money to spend. Persistence
and thoroughness are necessary elements to any successful litigation.
- The ability to remain in control of
- When you are litigating Pro se, it is
particularly difficult to separate your emotions during litigation.
Be forewarned, emotionalism during litigation can and most
likely will be used as an excuse to cut you off.
- The ability to know and accept your
wrong after being 100% convinced you are right.
- This can be a humbling and learning
experience. Sometimes, despite our convictions or our research,
there will be times we will miss or misinterpret the point and be
wrong. Thinking law and litigation is a mixture of morality,
common sense and fairness is a common source of this experience.
Morality, common sense and fairness may be elements in the
drafting of laws, but the implementation of law may not favor
morality, common sense or fairness as these terms are generally defined.
- The ability to hold your position when
right when everyone is saying you are wrong.
- Remember case law is made by litigants questioning
Judge's decisions. There may be times lower court
procedure and trials become a formality in order to get the higher
courts to rule on your issues.
- The ability to separate morality,
common sense, fairness and law.
- Morality, common sense and fairness
may be elements in the drafting of laws, but the implementation of
law may not favor morality, common sense or fairness as these terms
are generally defined.
- The ability to see Judges and Lawyers
as human beings.
- Most have to have several hearings
before they can see Judges or Lawyers as human beings. Usually
the behavior from Judges and Lawyers will eliminate any pedestal you
may have placed them on.