Communication is key add-on

November 7th, 2009  |  Published in interacting with lawyers

Just a quick update to my previous post. I spent the last two and half days at a training put on by my state’s legal malpractice insurer. And yes, this training was voluntary.

Apparently, the biggest source of client unhappiness with their lawyer is lack of communication — my lawyer doesn’t listen to what I say and I don’t understand what my lawyer says.

Obviously, lawyers need to work much harder at being good listeners and learning to speak plain English. But it’s also up to the prospective client to make sure they feel they can talk to and understand a lawyer before hiring the lawyer.


Pro se

October 6th, 2009  |  Published in basics, legal system

When a person is not represented by a lawyer in court, then that person is acting pro se.  Pro se means “for oneself” in Latin. In some legal proceedings, like divorces or probate (handling a person’s affairs after they’ve died)  many people appear pro se. Sometimes the court will have written instructions or special forms to help people who are pro se. If you don’t see any forms available, you should ask the clerks (people who work at the courthouse and handle filings). Ask nicely — if the clerks deal with a lot of pro se people, they will appreciate it if you are polite to them.

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October 2nd, 2009  |  Published in basics

scales_dreamstime_10249487Welcome to Lawsense — in this blog, I try to explain the  law and the legal system so that everyday folk who may find themselves caught up in a lawsuit can understand what’s going on. I’m only going to talk about civil law, not criminal law, because I don’t practice criminal law.

So this leads me to my first topic — what’s the difference between criminal law and civil law? The easiest answer is that civil law is everything that’s not criminal law. Another way to think of it is that civil law deals with disputes between people and criminal law deals with disputes between the State (i.e. the police, the prosecutor, the government) and people.