Sunday, September 25, 2016

Interview With Writer Kenn Goldblatt

Author of The Pro Se Litigant's Civil Litigation Handbook

  1. 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.

Along the way, I was able to observe all of the problems the average person involved in litigation encounters – largely because they too often don’t have a clue about how the litigation process actually works and what is actually required to prevail in a civil lawsuit. As I helped those people along the way, I realized that they needed a detailed set of instructions of what to do, how to do it and when if they were involved in a lawsuit.

Whether they are representing themselves as a pro se litigant, or choose to hire a lawyer to do the work for them, my Pro Se Litigant’s Civil Litigation Handbook is designed to provide them with the detailed knowledge of the litigation process from pre-litigation investigation through trial on the merits that they need to protect themselves – either by proceeding pro se or by monitoring what their attorney is doing to make sure mistakes are kept to a minimum as the case proceeds.

  1. 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.

In addition, it provides an Appendix of sample documents to show readers what their documents should look like and the type of content they should contain to have the maximum impact on the judge. Readers who are thinking of filing a lawsuit to correct a wrong that has been done to them are shown how to get organized and how to proceed as effectively as possible. Readers who much defend against a lawsuit that has been filed against them are shown just what steps are necessary for erecting a formidable defense.

  1. 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.

It takes dedication and commitment to develop the proficiency that is required. The goal of The Pro Se Litigant’s Civil Litigation Handbook is to take the mystery out of the litigation process to help readers understand that, if they have the basic skills civil litigation requires, or are willing to learn them, they can represent themselves or ably manage their lawyer in the protection of their rights and recovery of their damages.

  1. What 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.

  1. 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.

Today, over five million pro se litigants are involved in those courts. In publishing, the changes are just as dynamic and unsettling. Where authors were required to compete in a narrow field of book, magazine and newspaper outlets, today their opportunities are growing exponentially. The development of self-publishing organizations have broadened the print possibilities as quickly as e-publishing on the internet, through e-books, and social media have opened up virtually unlimited possibilities to writers in all fields and at all stages of experience. As a result, more writers have more opportunities to reach more (and more varied) audiences than ever before.

  1. What 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.

Next, it needed to provide step-by-step guidance through the civil litigation process from beginning to end. I found the key to explaining the steps was the development of the various checklists designed to keep the reader on track from start to finish – and through each sub-process along the way.

Then I needed to explain the requirements of effective legal writing and how it differs from other forms of written presentation. There, I developed the Glossary and Appendix to acquaint the reader with the specific words they needed to understand to navigate the process and printed examples of what their documents to be presented to the court should look and sound like.

Closely following the content of the book should give the average pro se litigant the best chance of avoiding the common mistakes that doom pro se litigants before they start and give them the best chance of prevailing in their individual lawsuits. Even if they decide that they do not have the necessary skills and/or dedication to proceed pro se, the book will acquaint them sufficiently with the civil litigation process to manage their own litigation sufficiently to reduce their costs and prevent their attorney or the attorney’s staff from making costly mistakes that the litigant will ultimately have to pay for.

  1. 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.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016 ©.

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