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Aghast 05-19-2017 07:17 PM

Self-Rep Stressed out

So I did it. I fired my lawyer. (Actually I ran out of money and couldn't top up the retainer)

I'm going to court Wednesday. I'm pretty nervous. I have posted about the motion in the Divorce and Family Law thread.

Any self reps have good stories? advice? things definitely not to do?

I can't even eat I am so stressed. I can't concentrate. Ugh

Bellbaby 07-10-2017 04:38 PM

I wish this had been answered, even just for court room tips. There are obvious ones (dress professionally, no short skirts, no gum, no Tim Hortons cups, etc) but wish there was a courtroom etiquette list. Maybe some tips people encountered in real life vs a Google search

Aghast 07-27-2017 02:06 AM

guess I should update my experience. Motion was adjourned to a long Motion. I had the long Motion. I WAS NERVOUS! lol, I could see my hands shaking when I took a drink of water.

Here is my advice. BE PREPARED. I wrote out everything I wanted to say. I referenced EVERYTHING I wanted to say, I referenced and quoted case law, all like a story in paragraphs not point form, all on a typed paper. Then I read the paper. Take notes of things you want to rebut, address those last, just before you state the relief you are asking for.

Finish your preparation a week ahead of time for 2 reasons. One is you will think of new things, decide to change things as you sleep on it and 2, you won't get done on time. My timeline was a week early and the night before it was due, I didn't sleep. I stayed up all night finishing it.

Write a Factum. I was ordered to, I don't know if you can for any Motion, but find out and if you can. Write it. Basically put everything you want to say from your sheet you will read, into your Factum. I think lawyers hold their cards close to their vest and elect to argue, but you are not a lawyer, also if your Motion gets cut short like mine did, let the Judge know that you haven't had a chance to submit everything and he/she will likely read your factum again and if its all there....sweet.

I read 2 articles on Factum writing, one was "Forget the Wind up and Make the Pitch" the other I can't remember. Read it. I highlighted the important parts re-read those parts every day I sat down to work on my Factum. In one of those articles it said to put it all in your Factum. It stated that a good Factum can save a poor argument, but a good argument can't save a poor Factum. The judge I had was telling me where my referenced material was lol. That is how detailed my Factum was. If the Judge reserves his/her decision, he is likely going to re-read your factum, if you put your whole argument in it, then he hears it again. If you didn't, you're not there to argue your point again.

Well I am glad it is over...for now. The point is, the more prepared you are, the less nervous you will be, and if you are nervous, you will have less fumbling around and everything you want to say will be right in front of you.

ifonlyihadknown 07-27-2017 10:19 AM

Very good advice, thanks!

I ended up self-repping as well. I knew I would not be able to think on my feet so also wrote everything down.

For my first, settlement conference, I also consulted with a lawyer to make sure that the format I used (binding, labelled tabs, writing style) was in line with what the judge expects to see. I felt it was important that my brief cosmetically look how a judge expected to see it to make it easy for them to read it and find things.

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