Thursday, August 1, 2013

Word of the Month for August 2013: Pro Se

Some men really are islands unto themselves
Ever heard the line, "No man is an island?"  Turns out, some people are.  I mean, either they do it to themselves or life thrusts them head on into peril...which all brings me to the word of this month:  PRO SE

According to Black's Law Dictionary (West), Pro Se is defined as: for oneself; on one's behalf; without a lawyer; one who represents oneself in court proceeding with the assistance of a lawyer (which is actually funny/sad given that darn near everyone who comes into my library representing themselves is always on the lookout for anyone who can give them advice on their case).  Anyway, if you find yourself on your own side either by choice or necessity (i.e. you can't afford an attorney), then might I suggest a few resources to help get you going in your quest to help yourself.  

First, let's say your marriage is falling (or has fallen) apart and you're looking to go it alone and file for divorce sans an attorney.  Might I suggest you take a look at Modern Child Custody Practice (Lexis) and/or Handling Child Custody, Abuse, and Adoption Cases (West).  Other titles that might help Nolo's Essential Guide to Divorce (Nolo Press) and Prenuptial Agreements (Nolo Press)

Next, say you've noticed that that mountain of debt you've amassed over the years is taking its toll on your sanity and you're now in desperate need of bankruptcy protection.  Might I suggest you take a look at Norton Bankruptcy Law and Practice (West), Collier Bankruptcy Practice Guide (Matthew/Bender), and Bankruptcy Appeal's Manual: winning your bankruptcy appeal (ABI).  If, on the other hand, you are the creditor of the guy who had been racking up mountains of debt and you want your money back, might I suggest you take a look at Strategies for Creditor's in Bankruptcy Proceedings (Aspen).

Finally, say you are looking to invest in real estate but want to limit your liability so you're looking to create a real estate investment trust (REIT) and have it run by your local bank representative (at only 12% per annum, if you're lucky).  A tricky proposition, to be sure, but before you toss your funds anywhere, might I suggest you take a look at Trust and Truestees (West), Miche on Banks & Banking (Lexis) Fletcher Cyclopedia Corporations (West), and Fletcher Corporation Forms Annotated (West).

Fact is, your local county law library is chock full of resource to help Pro Se litigants navigate the worldwide legal arena.  Whatever your need, know that your local county law Librarian has exactly what you need to get you up and going on whatever road you want to take.