When a pro se litigant begins to choose books (like our Guerrilla Guides to the law) , listen to podcasts (like ours) or watch videos (ours will be coming soon) they often see reviews or comments by others about the book/podcast/video not having enough information about that person’s specific case.
This comment is a clear indication the person should not be representing themselves in the case because they do not understand how the law works or what is taught in law school.
In law school the students have the least problem reading and understanding statutes or codes and the most problem reading and applying case law. That’s because case law is all about deciding what the concept of the case is actually about and being able to use that concept in a completely different set of facts.
It is impossible for a publisher, no matter the format in which they are publishing information, to direct that information at every set of facts that may come up in a case. Instead, what they have to do is explain the concept as broadly as possible and then rely on the intelligence of the user to apply it to their set of facts.
That’s also why publishers and writers of self help legal guides give some examples but only a few. The simple fact is that the more examples which are given then the more the reader relies on those examples instead of using the concepts to apply to their own facts and case.
In short, what that means is no one should expect a book, podcast, or video to apply directly to their facts. What they should do is read the information and then THINK about how the concepts apply instead of looking for a specific form.
Lawyers win cases against pro se litigants not because they are smarter but because they understand how to find law and how to apply it in that specific case. They don’t spend all of their time looking for “a form”, they spend time looking for the knowledge that allows them to draft their own documents.
Anyone can represent themselves, the problem is not anyone can do it well.