Represent Yourself in Court: How to Prepare and Try a Winning Case


Prepare and present a winning civil court case!

Written in plain English, Represent Yourself in Court breaks down the trial process ...
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Prepare and present a winning civil court case!

Written in plain English, Represent Yourself in Court breaks down the trial process into easy-to-understand steps so that you can act as your own lawyer -- safely and efficiently. Find out what to say, how to say it, even where to stand when you address the judge and jury.

Armed with these simple but thorough instructions, you'll be well prepared to achieve good results, without the cost of an attorney. Find out how to:

  • file court papers
  • handle depositions and interrogatories
  • comply with courtroom procedures
  • pick a jury
  • prepare your evidence and line up witnesses
  • present your opening statement and closing argument
  • cross-examine hostile witnesses
  • understand and apply rules of evidence
  • locate, hire and effectively use expert witnesses
  • make and respond to your opponent's objections
  • get limited help from an attorney as needed
  • monitor the work of an attorney if you decide to hire one

    Whether you are a plaintiff or a defendant, this book will help you confidently handle a divorce, personal injury case, landlord/tenant dispute, breach of contract, small business dispute or any other civil lawsuit.

    The 6th edition is completely updated to include the latest rules and court procedures and more sample documents to help guide you through your case.

    What's New
    The 6th Edition of Represent Yourself in Court contains completely updated legal information, including:

  • updated discovery rules
  • new information about electronic discovery and the use of electronic evidence, and
  • a newsection that contains an example of a custody hearing.

Explains how to handle a contested court case from start to finish without a lawyer. Covers gathering and analyzing evidence, determining whether there is a valid case, choosing a jury, questioning witnesses, introducting documentary evidence, cross-examining the opponent, and more. Good in all 50 states. Illus.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The nuts and bolts of self-representation in court are presented in this detailed, sensible book. The authors describe the legal process from the investigation of the case through the collection of a judgment, with an emphasis on what happens in the courtroom. Bergman and Berman-Barrett share the procedures and methods a lay person needs to survive in an environment that is not necessarily friendly to nonattorneys. Understanding that in the law the devil is in the details, they take pains to avoid oversimplification, and they do an equally good job of illuminating concepts like burden of proof and procedures like marking and identifying exhibits. The authors highlight important information with icons that alert the reader to a practical suggestion, warn of a potential problem, or refer to other resources on the subject. Highly recommended for even modest legal self-help collections, including those that already own Robert Schachner's How and When To Be Your Own Lawyer (LJ 3/1/ 93).-Joan Pedzich, Harris, Beach & Wilcox, Rochester, N.Y.
San Francisco Chronicle
"...all of [Nolo's] books are easy-to-understand, are updated regularly, provide pullout forms...for proper legal submissions and are often quite moving in their sense of compassion for the struggles of the lay reader."
The Washington Post
"Nolo people simply through the how, when, where and why of the law."
Times-Picayune New Orleans
"An excellent resource that outlines what's involved in representing yourself in court -- from presenting evidence to the rules of cross-examination."
USA Today
"Nolo helps lay people perform legal tasks without the aid -- or fees -- of lawyers."
New Orleans Times-Picayune
An excellent resource that outlines what's involved in representing yourself in court -- from presenting evidence to the rules of cross examination.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780873376112
  • Publisher: NOLO
  • Publication date: 2/28/2002
  • Series: Represent Yourself in Court Series
  • Edition description: 3RD
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 8.04 (w) x 9.97 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Bergman is a Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law and a recipient of a University Distinguished Teaching Award. His recent books include Reel Justice: The Courtroom Goes to the Movies (Andrews & McMeel); Trial Advocacy: Inferences, Arguments, Techniques (with Moore and Binder, West Publishing Co.); and Represent Yourself In Court and The Criminal Law Handbook (both with Berman-Barrett, Nolo). He has also published numerous articles in law journals, and regularly gives presentations on how law and lawyers are portrayed in film.

Sara J. Berman-Barrett is a professor at Concord Law School and co-founder of PASS Bar Review. She is the co-author of Represent Yourself in Court and The Criminal Law Handbook and the author of numerous articles and law course materials.
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Table of Contents

1 Going It Alone in Court
2 The Courthouse and the Courtroom
3 Starting Your Case
4 Overview of Pre-Trial Procedures
5 Investigating Your Case
6 Settlement
7 Pre-Trial Motions
8 What you Need to Prove at Trial: The Plaintiff's Perspective
9 What you Need to Prove at Trial: The Defendant's Perspective
10 Selecting the Decision Maker
11 Opening Statement
12 Direct Examination
13 Cross-Examination
14 Closing Argument
15 Exhibits
16 Basic Rules of Evidence
17 Making and Responding to Objections
18 Organizing a Trial Notebook
19 Expert Witnesses
20 When Your Trial Ends: Judgments & Appeals
21 Representing Yourself in Divorce Court
22 Represent Yourself in Bankruptcy Court
23 Getting Help from Attorneys: Hiring a Legal Coach
24 Legal Research
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2000

    Winning Case? Good Information...

    My sole purpose for buying this book was to help me represent myself in gaining custody of my two youngest children, as their mother, due to lack of finances to be able to afford a lawyer. This book was more geared toward criminal defence. This book is easy to read and formatted well. Each chapter and section is laid out for easy reference, including helpful hints scattered throughout to familiarize you with the workings of a court room. The authors did an excellent job of trying to convince the reader to understand that lay people can do just as good a job (or better) as any lawyer. They also try to give you clues as how to relax and be confident in yourself. However, the section (20/37-38) on Child Custody was very disapointingly short, and it was too general and vague as to what is appropriate and what is helpful in a winning child custody case. Over all, I learned much from the book, but I thought it would have more information pertaining specifically to Family Law.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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