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Self-represented litigants, pro se litigants and me

I am a commercial litigator. My firm's clients range from small to mid-sized businesses to larger companies to start-ups to individuals. They hire us to solve problems, resolve disputes, negotiate deals and make sure that they are acting in compliance with the law. In most cases I handle, the opposing party hires an attorney to solve their problems, resolve their disputes, negotiate their deals and to make sure that they are acting in compliance with the law. Occasionally (but with more frequency), the opposing party will decide they do not need (or cannot afford) to hire an attorney and instead decide to represent themselves. What to do with a self-represented litigant? I am always torn with how to handle myself. On one hand, I want to use all of my skills and abilities to swiftly resolve the case. On the other, I fear appearing as if I'm taking advantage of the fact the opposing side does not have an attorney. Essentially, I need to zealously represent my client while still being an officer of the court and ensuring the matter is handled fairly and justly. Unfortunately, weighing both of these considerations can be extremely frustrating.

One comment

  1. I received an email regarding potential resources for self-represented litigants and wanted to pass it along.

    There is a legal self-help center for civil matters in Glen Burnie that offers both in-person and chat-based assistance:
    http://mdcourts.gov/district/selfhelpcenter/home.html

    The Maryland State Law Library is also open to the public and it has a number of “hot to” books. The People’s Law Library website provided information on a variety of legal issues and serves a target audience of self-represented litigants. The website is http://www.peoples-law.org.

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