Criminal law has public defenders for those who cannot afford an attorney, family law often achieves balance because both parties are typically unrepresented. In civil court proceedings, we have contingency attorneys on one end of the spectrum, who’s objective is to settle quickly, usually between an individual and an insurance company. On the other end of the civil litigation spectrum, we have class actions, which rarely provide compensation to the actual individuals who were victimized.
The entire system is setup to allow attorneys to run lucrative law practices by settling cases without the burden of true fact finding, changing processes which led to consumer loss or any admission of wrongdoing on the part of a defending corporation or organization. In many cases, that leave the most aggrieved party with little or no recourse when they are victimized by large corporations. Courts and counsel representing corporate interest are often are dismissive and disrespectful towards self-represented litigants and governing bodies are unwilling to use their disciplinary power to protect pro Se litigants.
I understand that attorneys are people too, with families and bills, and I am not here to demonize capitalism, even in the practice of law. But when the system is designed to prevent other avenues of justice for litigants who have a constitutional right to have their grievances addressed in the court, I object to a system designed to obstruct that right, and currently, the system is designed to obstruct that right.
I am making it my mission to level the playing field for pro se litigants in all courts, but especially in civil litigation involving an individual and a corporate entity, where individual self-represented litigants are trampled by rules of procedure which serve little, if any useful, purpose besides to frustrate the efforts of non-attorneys to navigate the system. They will always argue that “Pro Se Litigants must play by the same rules”, very well then, the rules must change.
Pro Se We Stand will will have two primary missions. Support other pro se litigants and change the system. In support of each other, we will trade pleadings and trade lessons learned and in courtroom and out of courtroom. As I build out this site, I will develop a member area where we can serve documents for each other, volunteer our services where we are not allowed to offer them for fees and we will sit in the courtroom during hearings in the support of other pro se litigants, who are litigating cases before judges who unfairly rule against, mistreat or disrespect pro se litigants.
In changing the system, we will work to simplify civil procedures, demand that state bar and judicial oversight bodies end their practice of dismissive attitudes towards pro se complaints and when necessary, seek publicity for pending pro se cases. We will also work to educate the public and change the perception that pro se litigants are either ignorant of the law (how many times have you heard “if you have any kind of case, you’d have an attorney”) or arrogant, borderline crazy people who think they are smarter than they really are (“an attorney who represents himself has a fool for a client”).
I strongly believe that it is much easier to change a system from within, so I most want to hear from other pro se litigants who have cases pending in a California court, but I would also love to collaborate with anyone who would like to lead a change effort in their own state. I welcome the support of attorneys or court employees who would like to be a part of effecting change.