Two Things To Help a Pro Se Beat a Lawyer
Pro Se litigants, which means people who represent themselves in lawsuit, don't lose their cases because the system is against them, or because the lawyer paid off the judge, or because they did a great job and the judge doesn't know the law.
They lose their cases because they don't understand their case from a legal point of view. There are two simple ways that someone representing themselves can level the playing field and increase their chances of winning.
The first way is by knowing the law of their case. This includes the Rules of Civil Procedure, the Rules of Evidence, the statutory law, and the case law, that affects all aspects of their lawsuit. Too many people never do proper research, instead they go to the internet, find a website run by someone that is not and has never been a lawyer and who doesn't really understand the law. The web is filled with websites from people claiming to be experts but are instead jokes offering bad advice and horrible suggestions as to how to proceed with a lawsuit. Some of these people lucked into a win in their own case and instantly became experts (in their own mind). They will tell you all kinds of insane "tricks" which are at best useless and at worst will get you sanctioned and possibly even cause the judge to rule against you in your entire case.
If you choose to represent yourself you are held to the same standard as an attorney and therefore should do all the research necessary, using legitimate sources. If you haven't done a lot of legal research then you should seriously consider either taking a class or picking up a book on the topic.. Of course, we would recommend our book, The Guerrilla Guide to Legal Research: Finding the Law For Non-Lawyers. This book not only explains the concepts involved in doing legal research correctly, it also gives you a link to a website which allows you to do case law research absolutely free! As with all of the Guerrilla Guides to the Law, this is an inexpensive, instantly downloadable e-book which cuts right to the information you need without wading through a lot of fluff or useless information stuck in there just to make the book appear thicker.
The second way a Pro Se or Pro Per party can increase their chances at trial is by having a jury decide their fate rather than a judge. Judges do tend to side with the attorneys when it is a close call and are less forgiving than a jury. The members of a jury are people just like you and often come into a case with a pre-disposition against attorneys. In addition, despite what you might think, very, very few attorneys actually do jury trials on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, there is a reasonable chance that the attorney who is against you on the case (and certainly if the other side is representing themselves as well) will likely have had little or no experience in selecting a jury. Our book, The Guerrilla Guide to Picking a Jury, contains step by step instructions on how to select a jury based on the latest theories. The same methods used in this book are taught in courses to trial lawyers costing thousands of dollars. If you follow the system set forth in the book, you will likely not only be on a level playing field but there is an excellent chance you will actually have an advantage over the other side, even if it is an attorney.
If you decide to take on the task of representing yourself you will save thousands of dollars but you will also be undertaking a tremendous task. These two tips, and these two books, will help you not only rise to the challenge but also conquer it!