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Proceeding Pro Se

Some Matters Are Not Worth The Money
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Deciding When And How To Proceed Pro Se

The short answer is you can generally proceed when very little is at stake. Some things, such as a $25 parking ticket or a law suit for a relatively small dollar amount (generally under $5,000 and assuming no complications) are relatively minor and the cost of sufficient attorney time would cost more than the issue is worth. The problem is rarely that simple in many instances. What to do? Litigation is labor intensive and even at the APSA rate of $120 per hour for qualified attorneys many cases end up costing $20,000 and up. Few middle class people have such funds laying around.

The procedure we recommend is that at the first hint — and certainly no later than the second day after being served papers — gather up all your papers and facts and type them in a list. If you are a member, bring this material to our resource center and we will show you how to create a rough draft. We will then send you to one of the well-qualified attorneys we have under contract. These attorneys will provide advice and edit members papers for only $90 per hour. After seeing the attorney you will likely have a firm idea of how best to proceed.

If the choice is to proceed pro se you will be able to re-type and reproduce your papers here at no cost (if you are a member). Since most pro se persons are employed middle class professionals or small business persons, being able to use the facilities at nights and weekends and to confer with the attorney at those times is less disruptive to employment and earning a living. For the vast majority of cases one would handle pro se, we probably have the best selection of law books, case law on Windows search CD ROM’s, legal forms, automated documents, and the like. In many instances the decision and trade-off of proceeding pro se vs. hiring a lawyer are not clear cut. Many of us have found doing certain things Pro Se in such circumstances with the consulting and editing by one of our Approved Legal Advisors (ALA lawyer ), under contract is best, since over 90% of civil matters settle before trial. Then if trial becomes likely the ALA agreement provides for the lawyer to take over the case for trial at $120 per hour (or 10% less contingency percentage than provided by law) by merely executing a substitution of attorney agreement.

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