Articles Tagged with self-represented litigants

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If you are not a licensed Oregon attorney and you need to perform thorough legal research (vs “googling a legal problem,” yikes), you have free access to some of the same legal research databases that Oregon attorneys use: Fastcase is one of them and you have remote access to it through your State of Oregon Law Library (SOLL). (Check out their Blog while you’re at the SOLL website.)

You also have free access to NOLO (formerly Nolo Press) databases through the SOLL.

Remember, Google isn’t enough when you have to appear without an attorney before a judge. I recommend consulting an attorney* or a professional law librarian**, but not everyone (or even most) has access to either, let alone both.

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You can’t (CANNOT) waltz into an Oregon Small Claims Court and expect to win your case. You have to do your homework:

1) You have to read the book (in public and law libraries and bookstores):

“Using Small Claims Court in Oregon.” by Janay Haas, 2012. (Oregon Legal Guides)

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“FREELANCERS REJOICE: A HISTORIC NYC LAW HELPS FREELANCERS DEMAND PAYMENT,” by Victoria Law, Bitch Media, October 28, 2016:

Excerpt:

On Thursday, October 27, freelancers throughout New York City had cause to celebrate. By a unanimous vote, all 51 members of the New York City Council passed the Freelance Isn’t Free Act. It’s the nation’s first legislation protecting freelancers from non-payment….

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This is a short list of guides and gateways to Oregon self-help litigant and legal information resources. You can drill down into any of these websites and find many more legal resources:

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There is no shortage of news about SRL (self-represented litigant) service resources, here in Oregon and beyond. Two recent stories and a list of SRL service provider resources:

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Home Free: How a New York State prisoner became a jailhouse lawyer, and changed the system,” by Jennifer Gonnerman, in: New Yorker, A Reporter at Large, June 20, 2016 issue.
Derrick Hamilton was wrongfully convicted of murder, and spent more than two decades trying to prove his innocence…. He started spending time in the library, and eventually taught himself enough criminal law to become one of the most skilled jailhouse lawyers in the country….” [Link to New Yorker article.]

Hat tip to Longform.

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While there are many excellent legal self-help initiatives, there are few studies that evaluate those self-help programs after the fact, i.e. after the self-represented litigant has used the software or the court forms and system (e.g. in small claims court) to resolve a problem or right a wrong.

But the surveys that do exist can be helpful to others. See, for example, this report, which you can find at the SRLN Stories page – and here is the direct link:

Orange County, CA and the State of Texas Conduct User Experience Research and Learn that SRLs in Civil Cases Can E-File (News 2016)

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This a joint initiative of the Minnesota State Law Library and the Appellate Practice Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association.

New self-help clinic helps Minnesotans navigate appeals process,” posted Monday, February 8, 2016, at the Minnesota Judicial Branch website:

A new self-help clinic at the Minnesota State Law Library provides free assistance to individuals seeking to file an appeal with the Minnesota Court of Appeals or the Minnesota Supreme Court.

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There is a new Multnomah County Circuit Court, Family Court FAQ guide on “How to Serve (Deliver) Legal Papers in Oregon.” (We thank Judge McKnight and her family law team* for this guide! They say “[i]t was developed for family law cases but we included Plaintiff/Defendant terms so that usage could be general.“)

Link from Multnomah County Circuit Court, Family Court website, if that direct PDF link is not working. Today the FAQ number is 23, but that could change as new tips and answers to questions are added.

You will need to refer to the Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure, which are referenced in this guide. You can find the ORCP at the OJD Court Rules website or link directly to them at the Legislature’s ORCP website. (For the most recent proposed and adopted ORCP rules, visit the Council on Court Procedures website.)