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Common Courtroom Mistakes When Acting as Own Legal Representative

| Jon Montagna |

If you’ve got a legal hearing or trial coming up, you may think you can save yourself some time and money by representing yourself. We at Montagna Klein Camden are here to tell you why you should think twice before approaching that bench.

Every case, no matter how simple it may seem, is filled with complex nuances and subtleties. It is important to hire a lawyer specific to your case, someone who understands the complicated nature of the courtroom. Here are a few of the most common mistakes made by those brave (and foolhardy) enough to represent themselves.

Paperwork

Legal cases are comprised mostly of paperwork, so it is vital that it be filled out correctly. Often, when a citizen decides to represent his or her self, omissions are made by accident. Failure to sign paperwork, failure to include appropriate documents, for459960373getting filing fees or paying the wrong amount – these mistakes are entirely avoidable, but are tricky and can cost the citizen the case.

Courtroom

Is is very important, and often overlooked, to respond to all notices from the court within a reasonable time frame. The clerk of the court also must be updated on all changes of address, contact information, etc. There are very specific guidelines related to sending information to the court, such as using only the court-approved cover sheet for faxes. Failure to adhere to the proper guidelines will slow your case, and perhaps even cause it to be thrown out.

Witnesses

There are specific circumstances in which witnesses are and are not allowed. If you do have witnesses, make certain they are a legal adult who speaks fluent English and is aware of the circumstances of your case. Children should generally not be called to the courtroom to testify, as the Judge may prefer to hear their comments in a less intimidating venue (such as an office, with the court reporter present).

Other Common Mistakes

  • Failure to refer to the Judge as “Your Honor”
  • Providing “the other side” with your court documents
  • Failure to mail documents

There are many pitfalls to a legal proceeding. That’s why it is in your best interest to hire a professional. Contact the legal team at Montagna Klein Camden today, and avoid these common mistakes. Schedule your free consultation today, and streamline your legal experience.

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The National Trial Lawyers
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