By Attorneys Paul Bergman & Sara BermanBarrett, Nolo Press, 2001 (528 pages)
Reviewed by Sam Rutherford
The third edition of Represent Yourself in Court is a plainenglish guide to handling a civil case from start to finish, including cases involving bankruptcy, divorce and child custody, personal injury, breach of contract, small business disputes, and more. This informative, easy to understand book is intended for the novice as well as those experienced in civil litigation.
For beginners, the book opens with an overview of the different courts in the United States and the various roles of the litigants, judges and clerks. The book also provides several chapters devoted to assisting the reader in deciding whether they have a valid claim and, if so, which court has jurisdiction to entertain it. Of course, Represent Yourself in Court includes several chapters dealing with the preparation of complaints, answers, and other pleadings associated with the initial stages of a civil case.
One of the most useful aspects of the book is its discussions of discovery and settlement negotiations. Represent Yourself in Court takes the reader through depositions, interogatories, and other discovery devices, and even provides useful tips on how to conduct discovery in an efficient, effective manner. The reader will also find a section devoted specifically to pretrial settlement conferences and meditation, which contains useful settlement tactics to assist a pro se litigant in resolving a case prior to trial.
The book walks the reader through pretrial motions, jury selection, witness examination, closing argument, basic rules of evidence, and expert witnesses. Represent Yourself in Court is an extremely well organized book that comes highly recommended to anyone contemplating litigating a civil case pro se. The book can be purchased from PLN for $34.95. [See page 33.]
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