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Where do pros se litigants most often fail? Is it because of ignorance of legal protocols? Is it because they use overly aggressive tactics that most lawyers wouldn't use? Is it because they failed to prove their case, when a competent lawyer might have succeeded?

This question was inspired by one of the the answers to another one.

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    Most pro se litigants fail in the court procedure area. There are many intricacies about what must be completed by when. Determining jurisdiction can take a very long time, especially personal jurisdiction. These things set back cases repeatedly. If the litigant does not know how to remedy the situation, it will not succeed. Most judges in small claims overlook procedural deficiencies so long as they are not too burdensome on the opposing party.
    – Andrew
    Jun 29, 2015 at 20:13
  • @Andrew: That seems right. So one should consult a lawyer, or at least e.g. Legal Aid, for procedures and deadlines, even if they want to "try" the substance of their own case.
    – Libra
    Jun 29, 2015 at 20:15

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Most pro se litigants fail in the court procedure area. There are many intricacies about what must be completed by when.

Determining jurisdiction can take a very long time, especially personal jurisdiction. These things set back cases repeatedly.

Additionally, many pro se litigants fail a 12(b)(6) motion. This means the other side files a motion saying that the opposing party failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Typically, a pro se litigant fails to state with specificity each element of a claim and how the parties met each element.

If the litigant does not know how to remedy the situation, it will not succeed. Most judges in small claims overlook procedural deficiencies so long as they are not too burdensome on the opposing party.

If one is unsure how to proceed, contact an attorney.

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"Whether the defendant is a trained lawyer or not, most attorneys have long accepted the conventional wisdom that representing oneself in court, known as pro se representation, is a bad idea."

This article cites Justice Stevens in Martinez v. Court of Appeal of Cal., Fourth Appellate Dist., 528 U.S. 152 (2000)

Our experience has taught us that “a pro se defense is usually a bad defense, particularly when compared to a defense provided by an experienced criminal defense attorney.”10

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  • There is an old saying: "Someone who represents himself in court, has a fool for his client and a fool for his attorney".
    – Philipp
    Aug 23, 2023 at 12:39

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