A FOOL FOR A CLIENT?
Published August 2, 2019
As the saying goes:
“A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client!”
Actually -- to be politically correct in today’s world -- that
goes as well for any other gender.
I deal with these
things now since more than twenty years, have even been involved
in writing provisions for the bills, but I wouldn’t dare to go
into court by myself again.
It’s not only the
interpretation of the statutes, it’s as well court procedures
and formalities. And, as I have seen over the years, most judges
are not willing to help pro-se litigants dealing with
procedures. I tried it once, many years ago, regarding a record
request. I was well prepared – so I thought – and proudly quoted
the provision of the Florida statutes, only to be interrupted by
the judge telling me to show him exactly where in the Florida
statutes this quote of mine can be found. Well, as you can
imagine, I didn’t bring the official book with the statutes and
when I said so – I had only printed out the quote – the judge
started telling me that I shouldn’t quote anything I couldn’t
show proof of. I wasn’t prepared, because where I come from the
judges have the law books handy when sitting on the bench. An
attorney sitting in the audience helped me out by giving me his
law book, which made the judge finally calm down. I won in the
end, but after that experience I never tried “pro-se” again.
While arbitration is
a lot easier, you should still be sure that you are fully aware
of all the little “tricks of the trade.” Make sure you study
case law and other arbitration rulings before you dare to take
on the other side that is definitely represented by counsel.
Remember, yes, it
cost money to hire an attorney, but rather spend the money for
hiring an attorney instead of losing a good case because you
didn’t know all the little tricks needed in court and pay for
the opposing party’s legal fees. That can be a lot more
expensive than hiring your own attorney!
||Jan Bergemann is president of Cyber Citizens For Justice,
's largest state-wide property owners' advocacy group.
CCFJ works on legislation to help owners living in
associations. He moved to
in 1995 - hoping to retire. He moved into a HOA, where the
developer cheated the homeowners and used the association dues
for his own purposes. End of retirement!
CCFJ was born in the year 2000, when some owners met in
- finding out that power is only in numbers. Bergemann was a
member of Governor Jeb Bush's HOA Task force in 2003/2004.
The organization has two websites to inform interested
homeowners and condo owners:
News Website: http://www.ccfj.net/.
Educational Website: http://www.ccfjfoundation.net/.
We think that only owners can really represent owners, since all
service providers surely have a different interest! We are
trying to create owner-friendly laws, but the best laws are
useless without enforcement. And enforcement is totally lacking