- What inspired
you to write your book? My book is the result of over twenty years’
experience in litigation in various roles that began as a represented
litigant, then proceeded to a litigation manager for a case in which I was
sued for going to the aid of a friend and mentor, then to successive
levels as a paralegal, after which I became a self-represented litigant,
then represented others in states and Federal circumstances where I could
do so without having a law license.
- What is it
about? The Pro Se Litigant’s
Civil Litigation Handbook explains the civil litigation process from
the point of determining whether there is actually a case to be filed
through each succeeding step that is required to give readers the best
chance of prevailing in their lawsuit whether they are the plaintiff doing
the suing or the defendant being sued. It explains each successive step of
a civil lawsuit and provides checklists to help its readers keep track of
precisely where they are in the process and each detail of what must be
done at that time. The book provides a Glossary to teach readers how to
“speak litigation” so they can be as effective as possible as they proceed
through the process.
- What do you
hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? The
book is designed to answer the perennial question I have been asked by
litigants I have helped over the years: “Isn’t there an easy way to do
this?” My answer is always “No.” The first thing I tell them is that they
need to forget what their sixth grade teacher told them: that if they just
go to court and tell the truth everything will turn out alright.
Litigation is difficult and is too often tedious and exhausting. But it
just as often can’t be avoided. It has strict rules that must be followed,
and customs that must be respected and followed carefully. Learning the
process is not easy, but neither is it impossible.
advice do you have for writers? Whether you’re writing a book or a
legal brief or pleading, the goal should be the same: tell your story as
directly and succinctly as possible so that the reader understands what
you mean and what must be done to be successful at what you are proposing.
Different writing tasks require different styles and different skills.
Writing a motion to move a judge to action on your behalf is very
different from writing a children’s book to inspire a reader to a
different kind of action, or writing a how-to book to teach an adult a
practical skill. Understanding precisely what the goal of your writing
must be, and focusing on accomplishing that goal through your presentation
is the basic goal no matter what you are writing.
- Where do you
think the book publishing industry is heading? It is increasingly
obvious to me that fundamental and sweeping changes are happening in all
parts of our lives these days. A person can look at almost any part of the
surrounding world and recognize the impacts those changes are having on our
daily lives. In the two areas of most concern to me – litigation and
publishing – those trends are as striking as they are obvious. There has
been a steady increase of pro se
litigants representing themselves in courts across the United States at
every level of the state and Federal systems.
challenges did you have in writing your book? Writing The Pro Se Litigant’s Civil Litigation
Handbook presented a number of challenges. The book is not intended to
be a substitute for a law school education. Yet, at the same time, it
needed to prepare its readers who intended to become involved in
litigation with a detailed explanation of what precisely is involved in
fighting a lawsuit and the most effective ways to do so.
- If people can only buy one book this month,
why should it be yours? Virtually every adult needs to be able to
protect themselves from the possibilities of litigation that is increasing
exponentially in the United States. Whether they are simply protecting
themselves from the increasingly common scams that are ensnaring
consumers, or avoiding litigation resulting from an auto accident, dealing
with litigious landlords or neighborhood associations, or any of the other
dozens of situations that are becoming increasingly common in ensnaring
average individuals in the litigation process at some level, readers of The Pro Se Litigant’s Civil Litigation
Handbook will be prepared to evaluate what needs to be done when faced
with the prospect of civil litigation and protect themselves in the
process. Whether they need it now, or are simply likely to need later, it
is a reference book that should be close at hand to be immediately available
when it is required.